Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Minister-without-Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi began preparing for the first visit by a sitting Israeli prime minister to Australia Monday when he met with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Canberra.
When Bishop was in Jerusalem in September, she invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come to her country and told him that the Australian public would welcome him warmly and embrace him.
The visit is planned for February, when Netanyahu will also visit three other countries never visited by an Israeli prime minister: Singapore, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
“My meeting with the foreign minister included a number of central issues, including the prime minister’s visit, the efforts of the coalition against ISIS in Mosul that includes Australia and the impact of the American election,” Hanegbi told The Jerusalem Post
Hanegbi said he also spoke to Bishop about a military parade conducted by Hezbollah in Syria on November 13 with tanks and artillery. He said the parade proved it is “ridiculous” the international community differentiates between military and diplomatic wings of Hezbollah.
Tuesday, Hanegbi is set to meet with Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten and Penny Wong, who heads the opposition in that nation’s senate, as well as the ministers of the communications, energy and the environment. He will also appear before the Australian Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
Hanegbi will also participate in events for the Jewish communities of Sydney and Melbourne.
Ehud Olmert visited Australia, but not when he was prime minister.