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Australia opens trade and defence office in Israel

Australia quietly opened a trade and defence office in West Jerusalem in March, with no official government announcement and no officials attending the opening.

Australia quietly opened a trade and defence office in West Jerusalem in March, with no official government announcement and no officials attending the opening.

The office is located in the Migdal Ha’ir office in Jerusalem, but does not have formal diplomatic status.

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The establishment of the office isn't a surprise, however, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealing the government's intention to do so six months ago.

“Out of respect for the clearly communicated preference of the Israeli government for countries to not establish consulates or honorary consular offices in West Jerusalem, the Australian government will establish a trade and defence office in West Jerusalem,” Morrison said at the time.

“With deepening defence industry ties and Australia-Israel trade now running at over $1.3 billion per year, this will help continue to build our strong bilateral relationship.”

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It was established and will managed by the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, and is a "commercially focused office", a spokesperson from the Australian embassy in Tel Aviv said.

“We are currently recruiting locally engaged staff to work in the [defense and trade office] on a permanent basis. The Australian government has been liaising closely with the Israeli government and other partners in the establishment of the [office], to ensure it is fully operational as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson told The Times of Israel.

Israel's Deputy Director General for Asia and the Pacific, and ambassador for Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jerusalem, Gilad Cohen, shared some images of himself visiting the newly opened office, with the caption: "Visited the newly opened Australian trade & defence industry office in #Jerusalem! Happy to welcome our Australian friends in their new office and confident it will assist in further advancing the close trade & defence industry relations between our countries."

Australia opens trade and defence office in Israel
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