PM Netanyahu's Remarks at an Event for Australian and Israeli Businesspeople
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, today (Wednesday, 22 February 2017), attended an economic event with the participation of approximately 500 Australian and Israeli businesspeople. The Israeli delegation arrived with the assistance of the Export Institute and the Economy Ministry attache in Australia.
The Israeli companies are from the – inter alia – alternative energy, water technology, cyber security, big data and agriculture sectors.
As a result of the conference, millions of dollars' worth of deals were made between Israeli and Australian companies.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
"We have an extraordinary friendship. It's based on values. When I color the map, I color Australia in the same color as the United States. It's a partnership based on common values. It is true that the map of Israel's relations in the world is expanding rapidly, rapidly. We have – I'm going next month to China. We're celebrating 25 years of resumed relations. China is negotiating with us – at their suggestion after many years that we asked them to do so – a free trade agreement. Mr. Modi is coming to Israel from India later this year. Prime Minister Abe visited Israel and I visited Japan. And we just signed a protection of investment agreement, something that was necessary for Japanese investors. We have almost weekly meetings from Vietnam, from Korea – delegations that come in from all of Asia. I was in Africa and visited with seven African leaders in East Africa, and I'm going to West Africa to meet 20 leaders. That's the big change. The same is happening in Latin America.
All of this is happening because of a confluence of interests that I'll talk about in a minute, but our relationship, our alliance, our friendship is first based on common values before interests, and we value of our friends. We value Australia. We love Australia.
And many, many important things were said here today, but I want to focus on one thing. I want to focus today, because we have here people from the business community, I want to talk about interest. The reason all these countries are coming to Israel in ways that have not yet penetrated the public mind, but it's beginning to happen – the reason this has happened is because they identify two main things that Israel can deliver. I call them T&T. The first "T" is to deliver an antidote to terror, and Israel has superb intelligence services. So does Australia. By the way, we would do a lot better together than separately. This is one of the things that Prime Minister Turnbull and I discussed today. But Israel's capacity, capacity to deliver online, real-time intelligence to stop these barbarians who are prowling our countries, are prowling our sea lanes, are prowling our cities – to stop them, to prevent them from their heinous deeds is something that countries value. Every country needs it today, so Israel is sought after because of security and intelligence capabilities.
But there's a second "T", and that "T" is technology. Our world is changing very rapidly. The countries that will succeed are those who can innovate. The only way that we can sustain our growing GDP per capita, to sustain the income of our citizens, is to add value. And the ability to add value depends on technological know-how. This is crucial to understand because technology is seeping everywhere. Everything is becoming technologized. The difference between hi-tech and low-tech doesn't exist anymore. It doesn't exist in anything. It'll permeate everything, including barbershops – probably has already. Everything. Case in point: Water was mentioned here, drip irrigation. But there are other areas as well. We recycle our water. Israel recycles 90%, 87% of its wastewater. The next runner-up is Spain. It recycles 17%. So if you're a country that has a water problem and you want drip irrigation or recycling or prevention of leakage, you need technology. We have that technology.
There is a revolution taking place in the world today, and it's the intersection of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence. Those who can be at that nexus and create new ideas in that triangle have the future in their hands. We see that in our cyber industry. We have about 500 startup companies in cyber in Beer Sheba, which the Australian Light Horse liberated 100 years ago, has become the cyber capital of Israel. Because we have those capacities that we nurture in the military, but we encourage them to flower and to start-up companies, and that is happening as we speak.
We have a car industry today. It doesn't produce engines. It doesn't produce car bodies. It produces the brains for the driverless cars and the car networks of the future. We have more startup companies in automative industry than we have in cyber, which is saying a lot.
We're digitizing Israel's health system. We can obviate the need for many doctors. If there are any doctors here, some of you are in trouble, because we're going to make irrelevant a lot of the normal, the routine medical services, and we're also going to be able to not only have preventive medicine for large populations, but also personalized medicine. That is this confluence of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence. It's happening in industry after industry. It's happening in Israel, which is why our economy grew last quarter at six and a half percent. And when you get up there to $40,000 per capita GDP, the ability to sustain that growth depends on what I just said. It depends on innovation. Israel is the innovation nation. And every country has to be the innovation nation, but not every country will be. It depends on what we invest. I propose that we invest in a partnership. I propose that we have a direct line, and I must say a direct airline. You have the Dreamliner; bring it to Israel. And I suggest that, Prime Minister Turnbull, we dedicate the line on your visit for the 100 year anniversary in Be'er Sheva.
This year in Jerusalem; this year in Beer Sheba; and you are all invited."