ISRAELI President Reuven Rivlin will address United Israel Appeal (UIA)’s general division gala event in Sydney on Sunday, February 23, it was announced this week.
The four-day visit, which will also see Rivlin address audiences in Melbourne on Monday, February 24, is the first trip Down Under by an Israeli head of state since Moshe Katsav in 2005.
The President announced his visit to Australia last October while meeting a high-level delegation of Australian political alumni in Israel.
“I am so much looking forward to my visit to Australia in early 2020,” he wrote on Twitter at the time.
Rivlin received a personal invitation to Australia from Keren Hayesod-UIA World Board of Trustees chairman Steven Lowy during a meeting at the President’s residence last year.
In 2016, Rivlin cancelled a planned trip to Australia to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow instead.
Wentworth MP Dave Sharma, who worked closely with Rivlin during his time as Australia’s ambassador to Israel, told The AJN that Rivlin is a “great friend of Australia” and a “great President of Israel”.
“I’m really looking forward to his visit,” Sharma said.
UIA CEO Yair Miller said as the organisation celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, the event will be “a unique opportunity for many of us to spend time with, and hear from, the President of the State of Israel”.
“The event is sure to sell out and I strongly encourage our community to book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment,” Miller added.
Accompanying Rivlin on the visit will be a senior trade delegation from Israel comprising CEOs and senior businesspeople with an emphasis on companies and organisations that are part of the Israeli innovation ecosystem.