(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
PM Netanyahu with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: GPO/Haim ZachPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, this morning (Wednesday, 22 February 2017; Australia time), were welcomed by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy. Prime Minister Netanyahu inspected an honor guard and received a salute.
Prime Minister Netanyahu met with Australian Prime Minister Turnbull and Governor General Peter Cosgrove.
Following are Prime Minister Netanyahu’s remarks at his joint statement with Australian Prime Minister Turnbull:
“It is a good day, indeed a wonderful day. First of all, a remarkable experience landing here, seeing this extraordinarily warm welcome that you and Lucy have shown Sara and me and our delegation, and the warm words that you published in a seminal article that you published in the Australian press.
I’m honored to be 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. 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 Beersheba. 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 c alled 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 convicti on 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. And in all these efforts we see you – Australia – as our partner.
I have to say that this is not my first visit, it is my third visit, and when Sara and I and our children came here, we fell in love with Australia. We fell in love with Australians. We admire your camaraderie, your congeniality, your easy warmth. It reminds us of home. So after braving the distances – which we think are not a barrier to strengthening our friendship – I will borrow a leaf from Douglas McArthur and dare to say: ‘I shall return’. But first it is your turn.
We await you in Israel, not next year in Jerusalem, this year in Jerusalem, and you will be welcomed with open arms.”