Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull participate in a joint signing agreement in Sydney, Australia, February 23, 2017. Reuters/Dean Lewins

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would like to triple the bilateral trade with Australia. The two countries will work together on technological innovation and strengthen their aviation ties, offering easier ways for people to travel between the two countries.

At present, Israel exports less than 1 percent of its products to Australia. At the same time, Australia sends 0.3 percent of its exports to Israel. The bilateral trade between the two countries amounts to about $1 billion.

"Our trade is $1 billion. It should be at least double or triple that," Netanyahu said as he met with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Australian government ministers on Thursday. "I'd like to encourage the Australian and Israeli companies to increase in trade.”

Ahead of the ministerial meetings, the leaders of the two countries oversaw signing of agreements calling for working together on technological innovation and air services. The latter is aimed at improving business ties between the two by making travel easier. Air carriers Qantas and El Al have also signed a separate deal.

"There are a number of Australian businessmen and women who are investing in innovative technology-based industries between Israel and Australia," Turnbull said. "We want to deepen that. The air services agreement is part of that. There's no substitute for people getting together. We should be doing a lot more together. We shouldn't allow the tyranny of distance in the 21st century (to prevent that).” Turnbull’s comments came as the ministerial meetings – comprising of Treasurer Scott Morrison, Defence Minister Marise Payne, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce – began.

Netanyahu pressed on the importance of the two countries working closely to device new technology to "fight the barbarians" in the Middle East. He said they need to "repel danger and seize opportunities.”

"We are working ... with other like-minded states to prevent terrorist attacks,” Netanyahu added. "This half century will be dominated by progress and freedom, not renegade barbarism."

Turnbull also emphasised on the significance of cooperation between Israel and Australia. "There is so much scope for co-operation," he said. "We have the same values - democracy, freedom, the rule of law. We are combating the same enemies - terrorists that seek to subvert those values and deny us our ability to live in a free society - and we are both committed to the innovation which we know will drive the productivity to keep rising in aspiration, in achievement, in prosperity."