Netanyahu Announces Visit to Countries Never Visited by Israeli PM

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem October 30, 2016. REUTERS/Dan Balilty/Pool
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaks at the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday. (Reuters/Dan Balilty/Pool)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced at the beginning of Sunday’s cabinet meeting that within the next three months he will travel to four countries, including three where no sitting Israeli prime minister has ever visited: Australia, Singapore and Kazakhstan.

“In two weeks,” he said, “President Reuven Rivlin will leave on a visit to India. This is in continuation of the President of India’s visit here.

“In the next three months, I will leave for Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Singapore and Australia. For three of these, if I am not mistaken, it will be the first visit by an Israeli Prime Minister.”

Netanyahu also discussed the earthquake in Italy, offering Israel’s assistance to the rescue work.

“Italy has experienced an earthquake that could be very severe. I would like to tell my friend, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, that Israel is ready and willing to send assistance to the best of our ability. We take care to maintain high readiness for disasters such as occurred at the structure in Tel Aviv and this also serves us in cases of earthquakes. We do not know what the effects of these earthquakes will be, but the State of Israel is prepared and we are ready to help our Italian friends.”

In a reference to the recent diplomatic uptick with Italy, Netanyahu added that Israel “appreciates the strong and clear statement we heard from Italy on many issues that are important to us. The State of Israel welcomes the President of Italy who arrived here yesterday.”

On the international diplomatic front, Netanyahu said that “Israel’s international relations are developing in Asia, Africa, Latin America and in many other places. We are aware that this development stems from the economic and technological strengthening of Israel on the one hand and our security and intelligence capabilities on the other. Both of these facilitate the development and flourishing of our international relations. This is not to say that we will not be challenged in international forums, like we saw in the scandalous UNESCO decisions, and it is likely that this will continue at the U.N., but there is no doubt that even in international institutions, even in these scandalous votes, we have seen a change.

“I would like to thank the President of Tanzania for taking a stand along with the Croatian representative. In effect, they torpedoed the practical effect of the second UNESCO decision by preventing consensus. This is an additional indication of the major change that is taking place in Israel’s global relations, in direct proportion to Israel’s strength,” said the prime minister.