The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) welcomes the opening of a new Australian Trade and Defence Office in Jerusalem.
Plans to establish the office were announced last December and the office is now open and operating under Austrade’s auspices on King George Street in downtown Jerusalem.
The office has a focus on building Australia’s trade, investment, defence industry, education and innovation partnerships with lsraeli industry, including maximising opportunities for Australia’s high-tech and defence exports industries, according to the government. lt will also facilitate commercial meetings and visitor programs and take appropriate opportunities to build awareness of Australian capabilities in lsrael.
AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler AC said, “AIJAC is very pleased to acknowledge that the government has fulfilled their promise to open this office so quickly. Building on the Australian Government’s welcome and principled recognition of the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital and has been since 1949, this office should both give that recognition concrete form and help further develop the already extensive and mutually beneficial trade ties between Israeli and Australia.”
AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein AM noted, “This office shows the government’s genuine commitment to their declared policy on Jerusalem and Israel and it will also provide significant concrete dividends to the Australian economy in the defence, high-tech and cybersecurity sectors, among others. We therefore hope and expect that this office will remain open regardless of the outcome of the May 18 federal election.”
Dr. Rubenstein added “We also look forward to the Australian government eventually relocating our Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, helping to end the discriminatory situation whereby, for the last 70 years, Israel has been the only country in the world not permitted to nominate its own capital on its own sovereign territory. In addition to its other valuable functions, the new Australian Trade and Defence Office in Jerusalem is a step toward ending that discriminatory situation. For that, we are very grateful to the Australian Government,” he concluded.