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Israel brings Shorten, Abbott together

AAP logoAAP 19/12/2016 Jennifer Rajca

A trip to Israel has brought the likes of Bill Shorten and Tony Abbott together.

The pair, who the Labor leader concedes are "professional adversaries", are part of a group finding common ground during a visit to the country.

Addressing the Australia Israel UK Dialogue in Jerusalem on Sunday (local time), Mr Shorten conceded they're unlikely companions.

"In the heat of our respective political debates in Australia, we argue with each other, we ridicule each other, we label each other every insulting adjective we can get our hands on and when we run out of those labels, we go back to the top of the list and start again," he said.

"But something interesting has been happening on this trip. Our domestic instability is receding. Such is the power of Israel."

All of the Australian guests are united in a form of awe, Mr Shorten said, explaining how captivated they were by the nation with the oldest traditions and newest inventions.

He noted Israel and Australia were both multicultural, with the former home to more than 100 different nationalities.

"Ever since 1788, when the British justice system decided to offer some of its citizens one-way trips to Australia, all expenses paid ... the Jewish community has been amongst the most significant and most influential contributors to our national success," he said.

Mr Shorten praised Jewish Australians who have established charities and funded university departments to support the study of the past.

"Jewish Australians who, having seen the worst of times, sought to build the best of times for their children and coming generations," he said.

"They paid their taxes, they taught, they served, they cared, they joined our politics, they argued the issues, at home and in global affairs."

The Labor leader said every day Israel faced enemies who denied its very existence, insisting a two-state solution was in the best interests of everyone.

"It is to the credit of the mainstream of Australian politics that both our major parties, support the right of people of Israel to live in peace within secure boundaries," he said.

"The best path to secure this peace, is to recognise the aspirations of the people of Palestine and their diaspora, the legitimate aspiration for a Palestinian state."

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