Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Thursday morning with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and members of his Cabinet to discuss opportunities for cooperation between Israel and Australia on a range of issues.
Turnbull opened the meeting, saying: "we’re here with our ministers to discuss the wide range of opportunities to cooperate on security, on innovation, cyber-security, defense, transport."
"We know that there are very great opportunities to do more - and we’ve talked about this already - in the area of cyberspace. We have a cyber-security strategy which we published last year. It is world-leading. We are very focused on it. We have some of the best technologies and the best brains in the world here, and we know you do in Israel and there are great opportunities to collaborate.
"We also have a lot to discuss here on the subject of security.
"But we also have a very substantial commitment to the counter-ISIL coalition operating in Iraq and in Syria. We are in fact the largest international contributor to that coalition after the United States. So it’s a very substantial commitment and we recognize the importance of defeating Islamist terrorism in the Middle East and indeed around the world, for the safety of all of us.
"We should not allow the tyranny of distance in the 21st century. There is so much scope for cooperation. We have the same values - democracy, freedom and the rule of law. We’re combatting the same enemies - terrorism, terrorists that seek to subvert those values and deny us our ability to live in a free society and we are both committed to the innovation which we know will drive the productivity - as you said yesterday - to take us out, to keep rising in aspiration, in achievement, in prosperity."
Afterwards, Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke. "Thank you for this continuing welcome which has been exceptionally warm and not only well received by us, but well received by the people of Israel. They sense this kindred spirit," he said.
"I think the commonality of values and interests has never been greater. The commonality of the values stretches for centuries and well into the next century. We are marking here the beginning of another 100 years of friendship.
"The commonality of interest focuses on repelling the dangers but also seizing the opportunities. We are working with you, as with other like-minded states to prevent terrorist attacks that threaten our country and equally assure that this half century will be dominated by the forces of progress on freedom and not the forces of a renegade barbarism that seeks to use the weapons and the techniques of modern technology, to take us back to the dark ages. This is one of the great paradoxes. We have to fight the barbarians on the technological turf. It’s amazing. That has seldom happened before. Usually advanced nations have better technology. But now terrorists in barbaric regimes can use as Churchill called it, the distorted lights of science, against our own civilizations. So this is a battle in which we are engaged with you, with the United States, many other countries to protect our freedoms, protect our way of life.
"Equally I think the opportunities are vast and I want to start with something very simple and narrow. Not only technology, not only cyber cooperation, not only R&D but actually, trade. Our trade is a billion dollars. It should be at least double or triple that. I'd like to encourage the Australian and Israeli companies to increase in trade. If I did the schlep, they should do it too.
"The first thing I’d like to do is ask you to increase our trade, our bilateral trade. Second thing is to see how Australia can be a gateway for Israeli companies and Israeli investments into Asia. And I think that is a very promising possibility," Prime Minister Netanyahu said.