Op 8 en 9 december 2013 brengt de Nederlandse Minister-President Mark Rutte samen met Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Frans Timmermans and Minister van Buitenlandse Handel en Ontwikkelingssamenwerking Lilianne Ploumen een bezoek aan Israël om de eerste editie van het Nederland-Israël Samenwerkingsforum te starten. Onder leiding van Bernard Wientjes, voorzitter van VNO/NCW, reist er een handelsdelegatie bestaande uit 75 Nederlandse ondernemers en kennisinstituten mee.
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Israel will host high level political and economic delegation from The Netherlands
Israel will host the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, on his first visit as Prime Minister to Israel, on 8-9 December 2013. The Israeli and Dutch Prime Ministers will hold a political dialogue and launch the first edition of the Netherlands-Israel Cooperation Forum. Prime Minister Rutte will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen. A trade delegation led by Bernard Wientjes, chairman of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO/NCW), will join them. About 100 Israeli companies and 75 Dutch businesses and knowledge institutes will take part.
The aim of the bilateral cooperation forum is to strengthen the close ties that already exist between Israel and the Netherlands. The forum will provide a framework for initiating and cultivating private sector led initiatives, promoting cooperation in the fields of academia and young leadership, as well as an opportunity for regular political dialogue. The overarching theme during the upcoming forum is innovation, with a focus on agro-food, energy/gas and water. Government authorities, businesses, knowledge institutes and civil society are all involved.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte will start his program in Israel with a visit to Yad Vashem, where he will lay a wreath in the Hall of Memories, visit the Children's Memorial and sign the Guest Book. Later, Prime Minister Rutte and Foreign Minister Timmermans will meet President Shimon Peres. Mr Rutte will then have a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after which the entire Dutch government delegation will meet with Israeli counterparts. This will be followed by the signing of a joint statement by both Prime Ministers and a press conference. In the evening, the participants will attend a working dinner, in which both business representatives and knowledge institutes from Israel and the Netherlands will take part.
On December 9th, Prime Minister Rutte will visit the Beth Juliana elderly people’s home in Herzliya, where many of the residents are of Dutch origin and Holocaust survivors. The Prime Minister will proceed to the center of Tel Aviv for a short bicycle tour on Rothschild Boulevard, where various Israeli start-up companies have their offices. The tour will end at The Library, where innovative start-ups share work space and facilities.
Foreign Minister Timmermans will hold meetings with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and with Yehiel Bar, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Secretary General of the Labor party and chairman of the Israel-Netherlands parliamentarian friendship association. The minister will also attend a meeting in which Dutch and Israeli knowledge institutions will sign and discuss partnership agreements. He will then give a lecture on European affairs, "Israel and the EU- Beyond the Horizon" to students and young professionals. On Monday afternoon, Mr. Timmermans will attend a meeting with an Israeli think tank (ECF).
Minister Ploumen will open the Gas Academy in Hadera, a Dutch-Israeli initiative through which Dutch expertise in the natural gas sector will be shared with Israeli professionals. After this she will visit several Israeli companies.
An additional important meeting will take place between the director general of the Ministry of Development of The Netherlands and the head of MASHAV - Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation.
The upcoming cooperation forum will serve to broaden and deepen the bilateral relations between Israel and The Netherlands, including the exchange of views on various political and security issues. Among these, the Iranian nuclear program, the situation in Syria and the instability in several countries in the Middle East. The upcoming visit and joint forum reflect the special relations between Israel and the Netherlands, and the mutual interest in further promoting these relations, now and in the future.