Bibi down under – sitting Israeli PM to visit Australia in historic first


A sitting Israeli Prime Minister will visit Australia for the first time in history, after Benjamin Netanyahu accepted an invitation from Julie Bishop, the country’s Foreign Minister, who is visiting Israel this week.

Ms Bishop said: “We're thinking there's a little window of opportunity early next year”, with the actual dates still to be agreed upon.

The Australian Foreign Minister said she wanted to “reaffirm our absolute enduring commitment to the state of Israel and our friendship”.

Mr Netanyahu responded by saying “Your friendship is terrific – Australia, the government’s and yours personally, and we appreciate our friends.”

One of the topics discussed by Ms Bishop was the case of Mohammed el Halabi, an employee of Christian charity World Vision. Mr Halabi is accused of funnelling millions of dollars from the charity to Hamas in Gaza.

Last month, Australia suspended its aid projects with World Vision in Gaza, and Ms Bishop called the case “deeply concerning.”

During a three-day trip to Israel and the West Bank, Ms Bishop met Mr Netanyahu, as well as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. She was also due to meet Rami Hamdallah, the Palestinian Prime Minister and Abeer Odeh, the National Economy Minister.

She also visited Yad Vashem, laying a wreath in the Holocaust Museum's Hall of Names.

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