Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed the third annual Beersheba Dialogue on November 1, at an afternoon tea at Tel Aviv’s Renaissance Hotel, where the strategic discussion was being held.
The event, co-hosted by the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) together with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University, was attended by over 120 people – of whom at least 90 were AIJAC supporters from Australia.
Prime Minister Turnbull saluted the achievements that the Dialogue, an annual meeting of Australian and Israeli strategic analysts and defence experts, had accomplished in a short time – identifying areas of collaboration in defence between Australia and Israel for their mutual benefit, and culminating in the signing during the Prime Minister’s visit to Israel of a Memorandum of Understanding on defence industry cooperation.
The agreement will strengthen ties between the Australian Department of Defence and the Israeli Ministry of Defence, especially in the area of defence industry innovation. Australia and Israel also agreed that their respective defence officials will now hold direct annual discussions on strategic and security priorities.
Addressing the recent terror attack in New York, Turnbull said that protecting public spaces is vitally important.
“We have very strong assistance and collaboration with Israel and a number other international partners. We have to use all of our relationships in order to fulfill our most important commitment to keep our people safe. That is the first duty of government and the collaboration with Israel is a very big part of that,” he said.
Turnbull added that dialogues such as this one were critical to counter-terrorism efforts. “The more closely we can work together on counter-terrorism and on cyber in particular, the more effective we will be in keeping our two nations safe.”
The Prime Minister also acknowledged the participants and supporters of the Beersheba Dialogue – including the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University, as well as the contributions and close involvement of AIJAC.
Prime Minister Turnbull made special mention of the role of AIJAC executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein, while also praising the support of the Pratt Foundation for the Dialogue.
Mark Leibler, National Chairman of AIJAC, delivered the vote of thanks, focusing on the close bond and shared interests between the two nations.
“In the hearts and minds of Australians, and increasing numbers of Israelis, Beersheba embodies Australian tenacity, perseverance, innovation, excellence and courage”, said Leibler adding, “We also share democratic, liberal values that go to the heart of our national identities: a commitment to the rule of law, individual freedoms, and respect for diversity. And this is why the natural synergies and opportunities for cooperation being explored through this third Beersheba Dialogue – across Defence, cyber security, counter-terrorism and maritime security – are considered so important for the future of both countries.”
The crowd included a number of Australian Jewish leaders and AIJAC supporters who had made the long journey to Beersheba to pay their respects at the commemoration ceremonies for the 100th anniversary of the Charge of the Light Horse – a key victory in the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, giving meaningful substance to the Balfour Declaration a few days later and making possible Israel’s creation some three decades later.
L-R: AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein, ASPI Senior Analyst Dr. Anthony Bergin, AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler, BESA Centre head Prof. Efraim Karsh, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Lucy Turnbull, Bar Ilan University President Prof. Arie Zaban (photo credit: Yoni Rafe)
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (photo credit: Yoni Rafe)
Beersheba Dialogue in action in Tel Aviv (photo credit: Yoni Rafe)
L-R: AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler, Bar Ilan University President Prof. Arie Zaban, BESA Centre head Prof. Efraim Karsh, ASPI Senior Analyst Dr. Anthony Bergin (photo credit: Yoni Rafe)
The audience at the function, featuring, among others (L-R): AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler, Mark Dreyfus MP, ASPI Senior Analyst Dr. Anthony Bergin, Lucy and Malcolm Turnbull, Colin and Jan Rubenstein, Senator Linda Reynolds (photo credit: Yoni Rafe)