Australian Embassy
Israel

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News

 

2016

Work and Holiday visa arrangement between Australia and Israel commences

On 1 June 2016 the reciprocal Work and Holiday visa arrangement between Australia and Israel commenced.

This visa arrangement enables young Israeli adults, aged 18 to 30, to enjoy an extended holiday in Australia, during which they may undertake short term work and study. 

The Work and Holiday visa arrangement has an annual cap of 500 places per year.

Speaking ahead of the commencement, Australian Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma said “this visa arrangement will further enhance the people-to-people links between our countries. By providing a unique cultural exchange experience for young adults, this Work and Holiday visa arrangement can only enrich the lives of the young participants on both sides.”

Eligible young Israelis are able to apply for a Work and Holiday visa to visit Australia from 1 June 2016.

Information on the Work and Holiday visa programme is available on the Australian Embassy’s website at: 

http://israel.embassy.gov.au/tavv/Visas_and_Migration.html

 

2015

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science the Hon ‎Christopher Pyne MP visited Israel announcing Australia’s intention to create a high-tech Landing Pad in Tel Aviv.

Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science the Hon ‎Christopher Pyne MP visited Israel in December for three days. It was a busy and extremely fruitful visit focussed on strengthening Australia-Israel innovation links, and announcing Australia’s intention to create a high-tech Landing Pad in Tel Aviv.

In addition to meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Pyne signed a 'Joint Declaration of Intent in Research and Development' with Israel's Chief Scientist, Avi Hasson. The Minister also held discussions with leading figures in Israel's start-up scene. He visited the commercialisation arms of the Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute; met one of Israel's major venture capital funds, ‪‎Jerusalem Venture Partners as well as with Saul Singer, author of 'Start-Up Nation'; toured Israel's emerging cyber-hub in Be’er Sheva; visited the Intel fabrication/R&D plant; and did a walking tour of one of the main high-tech corridors in Tel Aviv (Rothschild St).

Mr Pyne also gave the keynote address at a major business luncheon hosted by the ‪‎Israel Australia Chamber of Commerce, attended by key players in Israel's start-up and innovation sector, including government, corporates, entrepreneurs and investors. Mr Pyne used his address to highlight key elements of the National Innovation and Science Agenda; to stress the importance Australia would be attaching to creating and fostering a more innovative economy, through policy measures and broader cultural shifts; and to highlight Australia's strong building blocks for success.

The fact that Israel was the first overseas stop by Mr Pyne following the Innovation Statement, and the decision to locate one of Australia’s five Landing Pads in Israel, is a clear sign of strengthening relations between the two countries and the respect that Australia has for Israel’s innovation program.

2014

Ambassador's Remarks – Gastech – 25 February, 2014

I would like to thank all of those involved in organizing this event, especially the U.S. Commercial Service and the Tashtiot Media Group. It is Australia’s pleasure to be amongst the sponsors of this event.

Let me start by saying what is obvious to all of you here.

The recent discovery of large-scale, offshore natural gas fields off the coast of Israel has the potential to be transformative.

Transformative for Israel – which, for the first time in the history of the State, has the potential to become a significant energy producer and energy exporter.

Transformative for Israel’s relations with its neighbourhood – where the potential exists to use energy diplomacy to strengthen Israel’s ties with its immediate neighbours.

And transformative for the broader region – with countries in central and Eastern Europe looking to diversify their gas suppliers and see Israel as a prospective partner.

But for this transformative potential to be realised, Israel needs to acquire new skills.

How do I know this? Because Australia has been there as well.

Since 1989, when the first LNG cargoes where shipped from the North West Shelf, Australia has produced more than 350 million tonnes of LNG. We are currently the third-largest exporter of LNG, but could soon become the first.

This industry has delivered enormous benefits in the form of export earnings, domestic economic activity, employment and investment.

But this success has not come about by chance. Good policy, good regulation and, most importantly, a technically-skilled, capable and professional workforce, across all elements of LNG production, have been essential enablers.

More than 80 per cent of Australia’s gas resources exist in deep, remote, offshore areas. Developing the full potential of these remote resources has relied – and continues to rely – on advances in exploration, infrastructure and project development, transportation and maintenance.

Australia is likely to be the first country where floating LNG facilities are deployed and with a workforce capable of operating the next generation vessels.

As the development of Israel’s oil and gas industry moves to the production stage, there will need to be a massive ramp-up in training, preparation and skills acquisition here in Israel to manage this transition successfully.

And this is what GasTech is all about. Bringing industry experts from around the world and across disciplines to hear about the many employment and skills training challenges – and opportunities – that the gas sector holds. And in so doing helping to lay the groundwork to train a generation of gas industry professionals here in Israel.

Amongst others, you’ll be hearing from two first-rate Australian speakers. Mr. James ‘Jock’ Stuart from Toll Energy, a top tier Australian energy sector logistics company. And Professor Brian Evans from Curtin University in Western Australia, where he is director of oil and gas training and research project initiatives.

We have a lot of experience and expertise to offer Israel, as do many of the other big gas-producing nations represented here today.

It is our wish that Israel learns from our experiences – both the good and the bad – in order to help develop a thriving gas industry locally – one that contributes to both the prosperity and security of the State of Israel.

Remarks to Massuah Institute for Holocaust Studies
International Holocaust Commemoration Day: 27 January 2014

Today we pause to remember the victims of the Holocaust, or Shoah – the genocide that resulted in the annihilation of over six million Jews during the course of World War Two.

Though the number of personal witnesses to this horror dwindles with the passing of the years, its impact remains with us today. Almost 75 years on from the outbreak of World War Two, the worldwide Jewish population has only just recovered to its pre-Holocaust levels.Countless generations of Jewish families were wiped out in this barbarism. As profound was the stain left upon the conscience of the world.

It was on this day, in 1945, that the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenhau, was liberated by Soviet troops.

Australian troops did not fight in the liberation of Europe. On Victory in Europe day, all of Australia’s armed forces were still fighting for our own national survival in the theatre of the Pacific. But the images we saw emerging from these liberated death camps shocked the soul of our young nation deeply.

Following the Holocaust, Australia took in and re-settled some 35,000 Jewish refugees.It more than doubled our Jewish population. Proportional to the size of our population, only the state of Israel accepted more Jewish refugees. Many of these Holocaust survivors went on to very successful careers in Australia. Others were quite content with a life of anonymity and personal security.

As a young child in Sydney, Australia, my next-door neighbours were a family of Hungarian Jews.The parents had escaped Europe following World War Two.The children were my close friends. We spent most summers in their backyard swimming pool. In winter we would kick a football in the front yard. Only much later in my life did I learn the circumstances under which they had come to Australia.

The Holocaust was unique and unprecedented. But its lesson is universal, and speaks to us today – That the capacity for man’s inhumanity against man is boundless and everpresent.That we must never again fail in our duty to bear witness, display courage and confront evil.

Ambassador’s Remarks at the Launch of One Million Hands Campaign

10 December 2013

It’s a great honour for the Australian Embassy to be hosting this event in support of One Million Hands for Peace campaign.Twenty years after the Oslo Peace Accords were signed, and after numerous false dawns, I can well sympathise with the degree of public apathy and indifference which forms the backdrop to the current effort at peace negotiations underway between Israel and the Palestinians.Public polls consistently show there is strong public support amongst Israelis for resumed peace negotiations, but strong doubt about their likelihood of success.The picture is much the same on the Palestinian side.Such a sceptical – even fatalistic – attitude is understandable.But it is not healthy.When discussions are underway that may determine the future shape and character of the state of Israel, it is vital that the citizens of Israel are engaged.Israel faces security challenges the likes of which are almost incomprehensible to people from my own country, Australia.No other country on earth has its very right to exist questioned, its very legitimacy as a state frowned upon, in a way that Israel must endure.In such an environment, it is only natural that issues of Israel’s security trump all others.What this means is that when political leaders are taking difficult decisions, and making concessions, in order to help safeguard the security, health and Jewish character of the state of Israel, it is imperative that they have strong public backing.That is why the One Million Hands for Peace campaign is so important – to help mobilise public support.It draws its inspiration from a similar campaign in Australia, called the Sea of Hands.The Sea of Hands was about mobilising public opinion in support of a new kind of relationship with the indigenous inhabitants of Australia – what we called reconciliation.It did not seek to be prescriptive about how this should be done. It did not offer any particular solutions or policies to be adopted.The aim of the campaign was much simpler – to tell the Australian political leadership that this issue mattered to ordinary Australians.In much the same way, the One Millions Hands for Peace campaign carries a simple message: that the Israeli public supports a political agreement being reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.It does not offer its own version of a two-state solution. Those sorts of decisions are left to the political leadership, as they should be.But One Million Hands for Peace does tell those politicians willing to take risks for peace that the public has their backs.I cannot predict where or how these current negotiations will end, or what they will ultimately result in.But I can say one thing with a high degree of certainty: without public engagement, mobilisation and support, the prospects of success are very slim indeed.This is why the One Million Hands for Peace effort is so important.And this is as true on the Palestinian side as it is on the Israeli side.This is why I would dearly like to see Palestinian civil society mobilise in a similar way in support of peace. Even to create their own One Million Hands for Peace campaign.I wish the One Million Hands for Peace campaign all the success it deserves.

Dror Ben Ami, Ami Ayalon, Ambassador Dave Sharma and Guy Pross Gershon Baskin, Ali Abu Awad and Tom Wilson

Noam Shalit and MK Omer Barlev Kobi Chai and Ziv Cohen

AMBASSADOR’S REMARKS, Park of the Australian Soldier, Be’er Sheva

31 OCTOBER 2013

96 years ago, on this very day, as the sun was sinking over the Negev Desert, horsemen of the 4th and 12th Australian Light Horse Regiments lined up to the south east of Ottoman-held Beersheba.Looking back now, with the benefit of hindsight, the outcome of the First World War seems almost pre-ordained.But in October 1917 it looked quite different. At that time, the Ottoman Empire and Germany were holding firm.The governments who had brought the Allied Powers into the war – the Asquith Government in Britain, the Viviani Government in France, and the Czar in Russia – had collapsed or been overthrown.The failure of the Dardanelles campaign and military catastrophes in Mesopotamia and on the Western Front had greatly damaged Allied morale, as had defeats in the first and second battles of Gaza earlier that year.Of only peripheral importance when the First World War broke out in 1914, by 1917 the Middle East theatre had become critical to the outcome.

Lloyd George, the new British Prime Minister, was an ‘Easterner’ in both his war strategy and in his war goals – he saw the Middle East in general, and the territory of Palestine in particular, as vital war interests.This, then, was the backdrop to the Battle of Be’ersheva.It was late in the day, and the men realised that a last desperate push was required if Be’ersheva was to be captured on this first day, and the whole Gaza-Beersheva line broken. All of General Allenby’s campaign plan rested on the fall of the town on the first day. If the defenders of Be’ersheva had held on until darkness fell, the Ottoman high command might be able to send reinforcements or, worse, make an orderly withdrawal and destroy the precious wells.
So as the sun was dipping over the horizon, a cavalry charge by the Light Horse was to constitute this final push.The men, having sailed some 14,000 kilometres from Albany in Western Australia, would have looked eastward across a 5 kilometre plain of bare ground to the trenches and machine guns of the strongly defended Ottoman lines.On their march to that muster spot outside today’s modern city of Be’er Sheva, they would have heard stories of how fellow Australians and New Zealanders had taken vital strategic points such as Tel el Sakatay and Tel el Saba throughout the day. They would have listened as the British Infantry and Yeomanry pushed at Ottoman defences to the south and west of the town.As the Australian Commander, Lieutenant-General Henry Chauvel, ordered his men to advance at 4:30pm, the two regiments moved off at a trot, deploying at once until there was a space of five yards between the horsemen. Surprise and speed were their one chance, so almost at once their pace quickened to a gallop.The desert dust thrown up by the Light Horsemen’s gallop and the fading light of dusk would have helped get the men to capture the trenches, town and wells so important to the desert campaign.Facing sustained enemy fire but moving quickly, the horsemen quickly rushed through enemy lines, overwhelming and capturing enemy trenches and earthworks. The capture of Be’ersheva was complete by nightfall, and the Gaza-Be’ersheva defensive line broken.It was an audacious but successful manouvre. As the official Australian war history records, “the enemy had been beaten rather by the sheer recklessness of the charge than by the very limited fighting power of this handful of Australians”.It set the stage for the march into Jerusalem six weeks later and, subsequently, the capture of Damascus and Aleppo.The success of General Allenby’s campaign turned the outcome of the war and, most importantly, helped dictate the shape of the post-war settlement – which we see still in today’s Middle East.32 of the Australian Light Horsemen that charged that day were killed, and another 36 were wounded. In the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Be’er Sheva, 1241 Commonwealth soldiers including 175 Australians who gave their lives in service of their country, are buried.

Turkish and German troops died that day as well, in large numbers.We come here today to pay our respects to those men of all countries and nations who fought in this deadly theatre of the First World War.

We recognise that those who were ready to sacrifice their life in service of their country displayed values of the highest order that we hold so dear in Australia: honour, friendship, courage and loyalty.31 October 1917 also marked the very day the British War Cabinet approved the text for what would become the Balfour Declaration, a declaration of sympathy for Zionist aspirations.So it was on this day, from the Battle of Be’ersheva here and the Balfour Declaration in London, that a chain of events was set off that would eventually lead to the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948.Today Australia continues to remember the sacrifice of those soldiers. In public squares across Australia, memorials stand inscribed with the names of over 60,000 Australian men who fought and died in World War One. Amongst those names would be some of the 2,304 Jewish Australians who fought – some ten per cent of Australia’s Jewish population at the time. Today we also recognise especially the efforts of those Australians who continue to serve in this region, including our defence personnel in the UN Truce Supervision Organisation since 1956, and the Sinai-based Multinational Force and Observers since 1993. We are honoured to have defence representatives from these organisations with us here today.As we reflect on the selflessness and sacrifice of the gallant young men we have come to remember today, I would like to read the last lines of a poem written by Trooper Gerardy in 1919, a Light Horsemen at the charge in Beersheba.

“Their sacrifice inspires the heart,
And sanctifies the hands that mould
A worthy symbol to impart
Remembrance in the Anzac heart
By grace of rhyme and bronze and gold.”
Lest we forget.

 

Ambassador Sharma with Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple and Mr Alan Webber

Australian Embassy Defence Attache, Matt McKinnon, Dept of Veteran Affairs and Eran Tearosh, Society for the Heritage of WWI

Ambassador with MFO representatives

Ambassador with Ezra Pimenthal, at the launch of his book on the ANZAC trail in Israel

IDF's International Military Cooperation Dept. with the Ambassador

Ambassador attends First National Convention of Indian Jews in Israel

Ambassador Dave Sharma attended and spoke at the first National Convention of Indian Jews in Israel, in Ramle. The September event, which was attended by 4,000 people, included stalls, music and more.In his address the ambassador spoke of the half a million people in the Indian community in Australia, making it the fourth-largest migrant community and one of the most prosperous. “An ethic of hard work, the value attached to a good education, and the importance of family and community – these are the hallmarks that have helped Indian-Australians become so successful,” he stated.For Sharma this was not only general knowledge – he is one of the representatives of that community.His father’s parents came from Trinidad, arriving in Sydney in 1979.The Ambassador noted that beside a personal history, Australia and India also share in the history of Palestine, when, in 1917, Australians and Indians fought alongside one another in the First World War, under the leadership of General Allenby, to liberate Palestine from Ottoman rule.

Ambassador Sharma with Yehoshua Naor,Central Organization of Indian Jews in Israel

Society for the Heritage of World War I in Israel visits Embassy

Six members of the Society for the Heritage of World War I in Israel, including the organization’s president, Avi Navon, visited the Australian Embassy in mid September. The organization is the only one in Israel that traces and records the history of WWI in the country, focusing on the roles the different nations played, including the Australian ANZACs contribution.The representatives told Ambassador Sharma of their close ties with Australia’s Lighthorse Association and with the JNF in Israel resulting in the formation of the ANZAC trail, of their annual conference as well as their desire to establish a WWI museum in Beersheva. The meeting concluded with Ezra Pimental, the society’s vice president, presenting the ambassador with an advance copy of his book, The Anzac Trail in Eretz Yisrael, to be launched, significantly, on the 31st October in Beersheva – the day the ANZACs arrived in the city in 1917.

Ezra Pimental presents the Ambassador with his book

Ben Rhee, Ezra Pimental, Amb Sharma, Avi Navon, Eran Tearosh, Arnon Lifshitz, Yossi Cherny and Eitan Israeli

An organization with a big heart

I recently accompanied the Australian Ambassador to Wolfson Medical Center to meet with the director of Save a Child’s Heart, Mr Simon Fisher and see firsthand what the foundation does.

The tour began with a presentation given by the hospital’s director, Dr Yitzhak Berlovitz, who expressed great pride in the work done by SACH despite the restricted and cramped conditions at the hospital.

Upon entering the children’s ward the first sight to greet us was the tiny bundle of Cristian Stefan Feraru, a three week old baby boy from Romania, who had just undergone complex surgery.

Dr. Akiva Tamir, Head of Pediatric Cardiology told us Cristian’s story and that of every other child there in great detail. His compassion was evident as he told us that each child was a constant reminder to him of his and his family’s good fortune and health.

We met Lilu, a five year old boy from China. Lilu was placed in an orphanage after his parents were unable to take care of him because of his condition, as is all too common in China.
There was Rohzya, a nine month old baby girl from Iraq whose mother never left her side.
Rosa, an infant from Gaza, was already in her pram, ready to leave after successful surgery. Her mother’s warm smile reflected the gratitude she felt to those who have saved her daughter’s life.

During our visit we are accompanied by Dr Goodwin Godfrey. He is from Tanzania. There are no cardiologists in Tanzania. Godfrey has spent the last five years at Wolfson and will return to his homeland as the first cardiology specialist. His stay and training are funded by the Pratt Foundation from Australia. They are also funding the training of four nurses and another doctor.

Other generous benefactors have sponsored the training of other physicians from primarily African and Asian countries and the Israeli government subsidizes 60% of the costs of the operations, but still SACH relies solely on donations to support the children they bring from 46 countries.

Before we leave the hospital seven year old Salma, from Tanzania comes to hold Dr Godfrey’s hand. She is another lucky one.

SACH’s treatment of children encompasses every aspect of their stay. The organization has built a house, catering specifically to its needs. There are bedrooms for the children, bedrooms for their mothers and a wing for the doctors in training, as well as a communal kitchen and dining area and a fairy tale garden.

In the garden we were introduced to Hayat, a six year old girl from Ethiopia, Akusoa, a two year old girl from Ghana and Hoz, a curious one year old boy from Iraq. Then there was Vivian, a one year old girl from Uganda, accompanied by her mother. Already very much at home she took my hand in a welcoming gesture.

SACH has treated more than 3,200 children from 46 countries, the 45th being Syria. Naturally the questions that immediately come to mind are – where do the people in Syria hear about SACH? How does SACH make initial contact with them? How do the children get to Israel? This is something that makes sensational media but SACH won’t divulge this information.

ACH knows that this will jeopardize any chance of saving other lives and that is the one thing it will not compromise. For it believes that every child, regardless of religious, nationality, financial situation or gender deserves the best medical treatment and it intends to continue to save many more children from around the world, including Syria.

By Esti Sherbelis Australian Embassy

Dr Zehavit Zivner, Dr Yitschak Berlovich, Amb Dave Sharma, Dr Goodwin Godfrey and Mr Simon Fisher

Dr Akiva Tamir explains the operating procedures to Amb Sharma

Amb Sharma, Dr Godfrey, Salma and her mother

At SACH House with the kids, the volunteers, the staff and the mums

Australian pianists delight their audience

Andrew Rumsey and Joshua Creek, two award winning Australian pianists, spent August in Israel, participating in the master classes in Tel Hai.The duo concluded their stay in the country with a private concert at the Australian Ambassador’s residence. The recital included familiar pieces, such as “The Carnival of the Animals”, as well as original pieces written by their colleagues, some performed together and some individually. The highlight of the evening was a magnificent rendition of Fantasia’s “The Sorcerer's Apprentice”.Guests included diplomats as well as representatives from Israel's cultural community.

Joshua Creek and Andrew Rumsey with Ambassador Sharma

UN Truce Supervision Organisation briefs the Australian Ambassador

Ambassador Dave Sharma and Second Secretary Alex McCauley met with UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) leaders at historic Government House in Jerusalem on Wednesday for ground briefings and top-level meetings.Australia is one of the largest contributing nations to UNTSO and commanders strongly commended the professionalism and skill of the Australian contingent.

Ambassador Dave Sharma welcomed by Chief of Staff and Head of Mission UNTSO Major General Michael Finn

La Trobe Delegation meets with Ambassador

Ambassador Dave Sharma met with a delegation from La Trobe University, headed by Prof John Rosenberg, Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor & VP, to learn about their efforts to strengthen ties with Tel Aviv University, including in the areas of student and staff exchange, joint research, joint supervision of doctoral candidates, and commercialisation and fundraising.The delegation was accompanied by their hosts from Tel Aviv University, Ms Gill Rosner and Mr Meir Buber from the Development and Public Affairs Division.

Prof John Rosenberg, Amb Dave Sharma, Mr Meir Buber and Ms Gill Rosner

Ambassador Dave Sharma Presents his Credentials to the President

8 August 2013In a touching ceremony attended by his wife, Rachel Lord, and the Consul at the Australian Embassy, Elizabeth Stachow, Ambassador Dave Sharma presented his credentials to the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres.The officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who were also present at the ceremony, were surprised to hear the Ambassador recite his oath in Hebrew, as well as English.

Ambassador concerned for welfare of children left in vehicles

By Ambassador Dave Sharma

Newly arrived in Israel from Australia, one particular news item has struck a nerve with me.It is the terrible tragedy of young children being left alone in vehicles, who quickly succumb to the effects of heat and die.There have been three deaths just in July.As a father of three young children, the youngest of whom is only three months old, with a wife who works and a busy life, I understand only too readily how these terrible tragedies can happen.Modern family life is often a rush: both parents working, children in school or holiday care, and frequent shuttles to and from various activities.I have nothing but the utmost sympathy for the families involved. Theirs is a loss that will never heal.

Five years ago, this sort of tragedy was all too common in Australia .But through a combination of public education, awareness campaigns, and a greater community sense of responsibility, we have managed to significantly reduce the number of such deaths.Australian research shows that on a typical summer day, the temperature inside a parked car rises to thirty degrees higher than outside.75% of this temperature rise occurs within five minutes of closing the car, and 90% occurs within fifteen minutes. Opening a car window makes little difference.This means that on a warm day in Israel or Australia, the temperature inside a parked car reaches about 50 degrees after five minutes, and 57 degrees after fifteen minutes.With their smaller body size and undeveloped nervous systems, children are especi