Official trip by Lee Hsien Loong — the first ever for a leader of the Asian country, despite warm ties. He will visit Temple Mount
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will arrive in Israel Monday, April 18, 2016, for the first ever official visit by a Singaporean head of state.
Lee will be accompanied by a 60-member delegation, including his foreign minister and water resources minister, the Government Press Office said in an email.
The trip includes a reception at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where Lee will receive an honorary doctorate. He will also visit the flashpoint Temple Mount holy site in the city during his five-day trip.
He is also set to tour the Old City of Jerusalem, the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, Jaffa, and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, opposition leader Isaac Herzog, President Reuven Rivlin, and former president Shimon Peres.
He will also travel to Ramallah in the West Bank to meet with Palestinian Authority leaders.
Lee’s visit marks the first for a Singaporean leader since Israel and Singapore established diplomatic relations in 1969.
Last March, President Rivlin traveled to Singapore to pay his respects at the funeral of the country’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who died at 91. The funeral concluded the president’s four-day trip to Singapore, marking the first visit of an Israeli president since Chaim Herzog to the prosperous island country in 1986.
Israel worked with Lee’s government to play a major role in the country’s development, as Israeli generals were tasked with setting up the country’s armed services after major unrest caused it to become independent from Malaysia in 1965. Today, much of the country’s military is based on the Israel Defense Forces’ model of training, conscription, and reserve duty.