AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER Malcolm Turnbull.
(photo credit: LUKAS COCH/AAP/REUTERS)
The delay in the arrival in Israel of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has turned the capital’s luxury hotel business and various arrangements connected with the visit topsy-turvy.
Turnbull was supposed to check in at the King David Hotel on Saturday night. However, it appears that he will not be arriving until Monday night – and even that is not certain. He may go straight from the airport to Beersheba, depending on his arrival time in the country.
Sheldon Ritz, director of operations at the King David, could not say how many rooms had suddenly become vacant as a result of the delay because he did not know how many of the people traveling with the prime minister would still be arriving, whether some had come in advance or whether some had canceled the visit altogether.
Luxury hotels in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Negev have been booked out not only by the many Australian, New Zealand, and British visitors – some of whom may be staying on for the Balfour Centenary Day – but also by people who are participating in the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting and other conferences taking place in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv this week.
Turnbull, who is coming to Israel to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba, was due to visit Yad Vashem on Sunday and hold meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He was also going to attend a cocktail reception on Monday night hosted by Australian ambassador Chris Cannan and the Israel Australia Chamber of Commerce.
It is unlikely that he will arrive in time for the reception, and it is unknown whether he will attend a luncheon in Jerusalem scheduled for Wednesday.
Australia's political crisis: Deputy PM disqualified, October 27, 2017. (Reuters)
He was due to meet with President Reuven Rivlin on Monday, but the meeting was postponed and has been rescheduled for Wednesday morning.
Plans for the visit have been underway for more than a year, and now due to a political crisis in Australia, some were nipped in the bud.
Rivlin was due to visit Australia last year, and canceled because of a greater political urgency to go to Russia.