Israel, Australia Expand Defense Cooperation, Face Common Enemy

PM Netanyahu and Australian PM Turnbull.
Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon / Israeli GPO

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Trumbull came halfway around the world to visit Israel, but while there he noted the nations’ shared terror threat is very close to both homes. In comments with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, the Aussie leader said, “As we have discussed many times, we are all fighting together against militant Islamist terrorism. It is a threat to Israel, it is a threat to Australia, it is a threat to all who value and cherish freedom.”

The comments, published by Netanyahu’s office, were made as part of a visit by Turnbull to mark the 100th anniversary of the historic World War I battle for Be’er Sheva, in which a coalition including Australian soldiers defeated the Turks. But that wasn’t the only fight under consideration.

Turnbull noted the two leaders have “many things to discuss” including “more contemporary battles as well, but above all the strength of this relationship between Australia and Israel getting stronger every year.” That relationship and their joint ability to fight common battles actually went hand in hand, as cooperation in defense was an area strengthened during the visit.

Another Israeli press release said the two nations signed a memorandum of understanding that “encourages cooperation between the new countries’ security industries” including innovation, inter-governmental ties and sharing information on security industry opportunities and approaches.

That press release quoted Netanyahu as saying about the agreement, “It reflects our commitment to defend our common values of freedom, of democracy, of the rule of law, pluralism. These are values that are under attack by various forces. We cooperate in every way to safeguard our peoples and safeguard our civilization.”

Netanyahu said he believes the relationship between Israel and Australia is a “real” friendship. Said Netanyahu to Turnbull, “The fact that you came here, half way around the world… I think, signifies that friendship.”

Meanwhile, also on Monday, Netanyahu met with New Zealand Governor General Patsy Reddy. A separate Israeli press release said Netanyahu briefed the visiting New Zealand delegation on “the situation in the Middle East especially Iran’s attempt to take control in the region.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, October 30, 2017)

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