Michael Jeffrey, Governor-General of Australia, is due to arrive today on a six-day official visit to Israel. Central to the visit is the dedication of the Park of the Australian Soldier in Beer Sheva.

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)

The Governor-General of Australia, Michael Jeffrey, is due to arrive today (Sunday, 27 April) on a six-day official visit to Israel. Governor-General Jeffrey will meet with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni and Opposition Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu.

During his visit, Governor-General Jeffrey will participate in the official Holocaust memorial service at Yad Vashem, and will visit the Weizmann Institute, the Volcani Institute, various Israeli companies, and Christian religious sites. Central to the visit is the dedication of the Park of the Australian Soldier in Beer Sheva. The dedication ceremony is scheduled to take place on Monday, 28 April. President Peres, the mayor of Beer Sheva, ministers and members of both the Australian and Israeli parliaments, as well as representatives of the Australian Jewish community will be present at the ceremony, which will open with a joint memorial ceremony of the Australian and Israeli armies, in memory of the Australian cavalry who fought in this region in the First World War.

The Park of the Australian Soldier was established by the Richard Pratt Foundation, which has contributed the Park and its installations to the residents of Beer Sheva and the vicinity.

This is the first official visit of an Australian Governor-General to Israel. The Governor-General is appointed by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister and serves as Her Majesty’s representative in the Commonwealth.

Michael Jeffrey, formerly a career soldier, is the 24th Governor-General of Australia. He was appointed to this position in 2003, and is due to end his term in office in August 2008.