Opening remarks, Residence of the President of Israel

  • Transcript, E&OE

JULIE BISHOP: Your Excellency, thank you for your very warm welcome and I am delighted that I am able to visit the State of Israel so soon after the Australian general elections in July this year and that I return as Foreign Minister after being here in early 2014 at the funeral of Ariel Sharon.

This is an opportunity for me to ensure that this relationship is not taken for granted, this relationship will continue to be nurtured by both sides and that it will continue to flourish. We have a friendship based on common values, it is a friendship that must endure as like-minded countries are facing so many challenges in a deeply troubled world.

The Australian people have a particular affection for the State of Israel and we have about 120,000 in the Australian Jewish community and they add so much to the richness of the fabric of Australian society.

Today I visited Yad Vashem and committed anew to ensure that Australia will work with Israel and others to ensure that such an evil brutality can never occur again. In that regard, we consider Israel a firm friend, as Israel may consider Australia a firm friend. We are one of a very small handful of countries that continues to take a stand in multilateral fora when there are obviously biased, discriminatory, unfair resolutions that are put forward. We will continue to do that under our government.

I also think that our relationship has the potential to enter into new fields of endeavour, particularly in innovation where Israel is a world leader. We are delighted that our new innovation agenda adopted by the Australian government, and indirectly embraced by the Australian people through the last election, will see a landing pad in Tel Aviv, which I will visit tomorrow, which shows that Australia has much to learn from Israel in the areas of science, technology and innovation. But we have much to learn from each other.

So in so many areas, whether it be countering violent extremism, whether it is seeking peaceful solutions in troubled spots in the world, whether it is through our bilateral trade, through forging new partnerships in new frontiers, whether it be cyber or innovation, Australia and Israel will continue to work closely together. And I am delighted to spend some time here with you and with senior members of the Israeli government as we find new areas of cooperation and collaboration. Thank you for your welcome.

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