Governor-General Patsy Reddy meets Israel’s leaders

October 31, 2017 Agencies
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New Zealand Governor General Patsy Reddy has visited Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin on her visit to mark the 100thanniversary of the WW1 battle for Be’er Sheva.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Governor-General Patsy Reddy
Photo:Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

At the meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,an aviation services agreement was signed by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz for Israel and New Zealand Ambassador to Israel Jonathan Curr for New Zealand. The goal of the agreement is organise air links between the two countries; the agreement includes the operation of direct air links between Israel and New Zealand, the awarding of stopover landing rights and the right to fly in each other’s airspace.

Cooperation in technology, cyber, science and transportation was also discussed at the meeting.

Prime Minister Netanyahu briefed the New Zealand delegation on the situation in the Middle East especially Iran’s attempt to take control in the region.

President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin welcomed to the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, Governor-General of New Zealand, Dame Patricia Reddy, accompanied by her husband Sir David Gascoigne.

The President welcomed the Governor-General saying: “The friendship between Israel and New Zealand is a very special one. It began long before Israel even existed as an independent state.

One hundred years ago, New Zealand’s soldiers helped free the Land of Israel from the Ottoman Empire in the First World War. It was the soldiers of New Zealand and other ANZAC forces, that captured Beer Sheva, and in that battle, 31 soldiers lost their lives. We remember their loss even now.

NZ Governor-General Patsy Reddy and President Reuven Rivlin
Photo: Mark Neiman/GPO

Their legacy is the great friendship between our peoples. Today, we are building on that legacy.”

The President added: “The business community in New Zealand is asking for closer ties with the Israeli eco-system.” He noted that in the last year and a half there had been a number of high profile delegations, business and cooperation agreements signed, and said, “I am sure this will lead to closer and stronger relations, between our peoples.”

The Governor-General thanked the President for his welcome and warmly recalled, “This is not my first visit to Israel, I was here in 1980 but I was here as a backpacker.”

She said “It’s a great honor to be here to commemorate the battle of Be’er Sheva and the part that the New Zealand forces played in that battle. So it has a somber, historical significance. But already this morning I have been present at a conference announcing a major agreement between a New Zealand energy company and an important technology company in Israel that have come together to collaborate on technology, the future, the internet of things, making advancements for both Israel and New Zealand.”

She noted the two countries were “geographically distant but very much spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually we have a lot in common. We are a small nation, a nation of advances entrepreneurial technology, because we need to think smart to get ahead. Israel has always needed to think smart to get ahead, to survive. We have been here alongside Israel from the beginning and we will continue to be so.”

The two then went on to hold a working lunch during which the discussed the strengthening of ties between the two countries.

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