Australia is seeking closer defense and military intelligence ties to Israel on the back of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to the Jewish State.
Mr. Turnbull arrives in Israel late Sunday night for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba and is expected to announce Australia and Israel will conduct annual defence talks and boost defence industry co-operation.
The first Australian prime minister to visit Israel since fellow conservative John Howard in 2000, Mr. Turnbull told the Australian newspaper the visit would focus mainly on military ties but also address the broader issues of trade, investment, and technology.
Israel’s defence industry exports are worth about $US7 billion a year, with the US, India, South Korea and Australia key destinations.
“Our defence ties have become a vital part of the relationship between Australia and Israel. As a result of this visit, we aim to upgrade the co-operation on defence, national security, and the protection of crowded places,” he said. “Our nations can learn a great deal from each other in order to strengthen security and keep our citizens safe.”
Australia and Israel will also forge closer links on cyber-security, with Veterans Affairs Minister and the Minister Assisting the PM on Cyber Security, Dan Tehan, also on the visit, according to the newspaper.
Mr. Turnbull will pay his respects at the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem before attending the centenary anniversary of the famous charge of the Light Horse Brigade at the Battle of Beersheba.
Mr. Turnbull joins Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the New Zealand governor-general and 2000 others on Tuesday to commemorate what has been described as one of the last great calvary charges in history, when the Australian Light Horse Brigade captured the city of Beersheba on October 31, 1917.
Thirty-one Australians died in the conflict.
The Australian leader’s visit follows Mr. Netanyahu’s trip to Australia in February, the first by a serving Israeli Prime Minister. As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, that visit featured Mr. Netanyahu praising Australia for being “courageously willing to puncture U.N. hypocrisy” on anti-Israel resolutions.