AUSTRALIA’S close relations with Israel will remain close and strong should Labor win the next federal election, outgoing deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy Anat Sultan-Dadon believes.
Sultan-Dadon, who will return to Israel later this month after serving in Canberra for the last three years, sat down for a wide-ranging interview reflecting on her posting.
“I think our bilateral relations are based on common values and common interests … There is still more potential for the relations to grow and I don’t see that changing,” she said.
“We enjoy wonderful relations with the current government, but Israel does receive bipartisan support here. In the leader of the Opposition but also in the Labor party there are friends, there is support for Israel and common values and interests.
“There may be on some matters, differences of opinion, and these are discussed as friends discuss issues.”
She said the highlight of her tenure in Australia was the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February 2017.
“It was a very important highlight in the relations between the countries, and I think in general over these last three years we have seen the strong relations between the countries grow even stronger,” she said.
“The high level of trust and friendship between the countries enables also cooperation in every possible field.”
Sultan-Dadon, who had never been to Australia prior to her posting, said she specifically requested the assignment.
“I was the one who chose to come and yet I did not realise how much of a privilege this posting really is,” she said.
“Australia has been wonderful to me in every way, both professionally and on a personal level.”
She added, “Doors open very easily here, an Israeli diplomat is very welcome in every area,” and reserved special praise for the local Jewish community, “an incredible partner”.
“We are privileged to have such a strong, supportive community here in Australia,” she said.
“The community plays a very significant role in [Australia-Israel] relations – the very strong support Israel enjoys from the Jewish community, the strong ties that the community maintains to Israel, their nurturing of the ties within the younger generation as well – it really is exceptional to see.”
Sultan-Dadon will initially head back to Israel to work at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem but said, “The future is not carved out.
“I look forward to future challenges and if one day in the future I were to return to Australia it would be a great privilege.”