Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was welcomed together with his wife Sara by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy on Wednesday morning in the first official state visit to Australia by an incumbent Israeli prime minister.
The two heads of state met with Governor General Peter Cosgrove while their wives met together, and followed their talks with a joint news conference at which Netanyahu thanked his Australian counterpart for the ‘extraordinarily warm welcome’ he, his wife and delegation were shown.
“I’m honored to the first Israeli Prime Minister to officially visit Australia. God, it’s been a long time coming! It celebrates, really, 100 years of friendship of Australia to the Jewish people and their state.
“You mentioned, Malcolm, the charge of the Light Horse Brigade,” he continued.
“This is not only etched in your memory; it is etched in our memory. In fact, we are going to celebrate this and I’ve invited you and your delegation to mark this extraordinary event, the last successful cavalry charge in history that liberated Be’er Sheva. We will celebrate this event in Be’er Sheva, in Israel. We would like you to know that when you come there, you come as a great friend of our people and our civilization.
“Because you rightly say, these are common values. This was reflected in the fact that Australian and Jewish soldiers fought the Nazi attempt to invade the eastern part of the Middle East, which would have put an end to Zionism. We remember Australia’s contribution there.
“We remember that Australia was the first country to vote for the Partition Resolution that called for the establishment of a Jewish state. We never forget that, and we have since made so many advances and so much progress in so many areas, we are now facing a new future.
“The future belongs to those who innovate. Israel is an innovation nation, Australia is an innovation nation. You have entrepreneurs, we have entrepreneurs. Our task is to try to put them together more intensely, to cooperate for the benefit of our people and your people, and I think for the benefits of other countries as well. We’ve discussed this at great length. I think the opportunities are astounding, and we believe in our ability to seize the future.
“As we do so, we also know that we face radical forces that seek to take all of humanity back to a dark past. We discussed how we can intensify our cooperation against this radical terrorism that reaches deep into every corner of the world, including to Australia. But I believe that we have not only the force of technology, but of conviction to defeat these forces.
“I see a change in the Middle East, in many Arab countries, that recognize that they too are being threatened by these malignant forces. That gives me hope that in cooperating with them for our common security, we might also be able to advance the peace between us and them, and ultimately between us and our Palestinian neighbors.”