Bibi down under

Bibi down under

Benjamin Netanyahu will become the first sitting Israeli prime minister to visit Australia on Wednesday. While the two countries share

Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Benjamin Netanyahu will become the first sitting Israeli prime minister to visit Australia on Wednesday.

While the two countries share economic interests, strategic concerns and political values, the fundamentals of the relationship have remained distant. Bilateral trade stands at a modest $800 million and military ties are almost non-existent; the fact that Bibi will be the first PM to travel Down Under is telling of a relationship that has played second fiddle to great and powerful friends.

This is something Prime Ministers Turnbull and Netanyahu will seek to change on Wednesday. Flanked by a sizeable business delegation, the Israeli leader will sign agreements to boost trade links with Australia and lay the foundations for the exchange of high-tech innovations – a field both countries excel in.

For his part, Malcolm Turnbull will also use the visit to score points with his electorate, which is home to the largest Jewish community in Sydney.