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Benjamin Netanyahu visit is historic moment for Australia and Israel

by The Australian Financial Review

The visit of Benjamin Netanyahu marks an historic point in Australia-Israel relations. It is the first such trip by a sitting Israeli Prime Minister since Australia stepped up as the first nation to vote in favour of the 1947 UN partition resolution that led to the establishment of Israel. 

And while many Labor Party elders are now advocating for diplomatic recognition of Palestine, Australia should tread carefully. While denouncing Israel's growing settlements, Palestinians under Mahmoud Abbas have shown little taste for genuine negotiations to end the conflict. Granting diplomatic recognition might only encourage more intransigence and Bill Shorten has responsibly resisted such calls.

There is so much to admire about Israel, not least the sheer force of will and innovation by which a band of socialist intellectuals turned a barren land into a thriving liberal democracy, despite enemies on all sides. More recently that entrepreneurial spirit has shown itself up in small tech companies. In 2015 alone, Australians invested $650 million into Israeli start-ups. The visit is also a chance for Australia's Jewish business community – which has made a profoundly positive contribution to Australian life and prosperity, far in excess of its modest 130,000 population – to celebrate the achievements of the Jewish state. This successful community has literally helped to build both Australia and Israel.

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