Official visit to Israel


Innovation, cyber security and cutting-edge medical and financial services technologies will form the focus of a visit to Israel next week by NSW Premier Mike Baird.

The week-long visit is believed to be the first to Israel by a serving NSW Premier.

As part of the visit, Mr Baird will lead a high-level delegation of business, research and public sector leaders, which has been coordinated by the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce and the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

“Israel is known as ‘startup nation’ for good reason, and, as we prepare to launch our own Innovation Strategy later this year, there can be no better time to study the successful Israeli model for nurturing new ideas and encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship,” Mr Baird said.

“We also want to create practical connections and synergies between Australian companies and researchers working in areas ripe for innovation and their Israeli counterparts.”

Another key focus of the visit will be medicinal cannabis, in which Israel is a pioneer.

The NSW delegation -- which includes NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane and medicinal cannabis advocate Lucy Haslam -- will have an opportunity to exchange ideas with Professor Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Professor Mechoulam is widely recognised as the world’s foremost academic authority on medicinal cannabis research.

Cyber security will be discussed during the visit at a roundtable to be co-chaired by NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione.

In addition to visiting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Mr Baird will spend a day on the West Bank, meeting Palestinian leadership and seeing first-hand how Australian aid dollars are working for local communities.