Netanyahu makes history in first visit to Singapore by an Israeli prime minister

PM ends visit in Singapore, making history as the first Israeli PM to visit Singapore and Australia; Meeting with PM Loong centers on boosting ties in technology and innovation; Netanyahu heads to five-day tour in Australia in the first visit by an Israeli PM to Australia
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Prime Minister Netanyahu traveled to Singapore Monday ahead of traveling to Australia on Tuesday, both tours historically significant as they are the first visits by an Israeli Prime Minister to both states.
Netanyahu stated ahead of leaving for Singapore and Australia that “What we’re [Israel] doing is reinforcing Israel’s international standing” and increasing economic ties globally, referring to Israel’s “earlier visits in the Muslim world and now in Australia and in Asian powers,” and following a successful visit to Washington last week.
In Singapore, the Prime Minister met with both Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Tony Tan Keng Yam and Singaporean officials, the meeting centered on increasing bilateral cooperation and ties. Prime Minister Loong previously made history as the first Prime Minister of Singapore to visit Israel in April of 2016.
Both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Prime Minister Loong gave a short press conference where they both spoke of the growing relations between Israel and Singapore, specifically in the areas of research and development, in which over 150 joint-projects have been created between companies in Israel and Singapore given a research and development fund.
Prime Minister Netanyahu stated on being the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit Singapore, “I have to say that this is my first time in Singapore. I’m following in your footsteps. You visited Israel for the first time, an historic visit. And as we landed here, I was absolutely amazed, tremendously impressed. As much as you hear about Singapore’s success, to see it physically is quite startling and it tells you the power of people, the power of ideas, the power of the potential or rather of talent unleashed.”
On growing Israel-Singapore ties, he stated, “I believe that Israel and Singapore are kindred spirits. We’re small nations that have become in many areas global powers, and I believe that our cooperation makes us even more successful, cooperation in every field. We have a joint R&D [research and development] fund that has already funded 150 projects for Israeli and Singapore companies working together in a variety of fields, and I think that the opportunities are vast.”
He spoke specifically on cooperation and future agreements in the fields of technology and innovation, stating “We live in a technological age. The future belongs to those who innovate. Israel and Singapore are innovation nations, and together we can bring more prosperity, more hope for our peoples and I think for beyond our peoples, for the neighborhoods in which we live.”
On cultural correlations, he stated that both Israel and Singapore “value the diversity in our societies, we value the pluralism in our societies, and we have much to learn from each other,” adding that the State of Israel would “like to learn from you, as we do in many, many other areas,” referring to relations as “particularly productive and valuable to ensure our security and prosperity for our peoples in the future.”
Prime Minister Loong welcomed Netanyahu’s historic visit, boasting of Singapore’s growing relations with the Jewish State, thanking Israel for its assistance in building its military from 1970’s, stating that Israel’s assistance “ensured our survival at a time of great uncertainty and vulnerability. We will always be grateful. Since then, our ties have expanded beyond defense and security.”
Israel not only was one of the first states to establish arms deals with Singapore in the 1980’s, but also trained and consulted Singapore’s armed forces in the 1960’s before relations were established between both states.
Prime Minister Netanyahu is currently en route to Australia for a five-day tour where he will meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and several Australian officials.