As Australia’s relationship with key trading partner Indonesia deteriorated further, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hastily scrapped plans to shift Australia’s Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, announcing new plans to move the embassy to Jakarta instead.
In a statement to journalists today, Mr Morrison said he always felt Jakarta was the true capital of Israel. “There’s been a lot of talk about Jerusalem. But really, when you think about the spiritual home of the Jewish people, you think downtown Jakarta, in a yet-to-be-built embassy building that will inject millions of dollars into the Indonesian economy”.
He said Australia’s increasingly shaky free trade agreement with Indonesia played no part in the decision.
Experts have criticised the plan, saying putting an embassy for a Jewish nation in a predominantly Muslim country showed a lack of planning. Mr Morrison said he disagreed with that assessment, pointing out he had spent several minutes putting the plan together.