Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard has arrived in Israel for talks with both Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Ms Gillard is leading a delegation of politicians, musicians and filmmakers as part of a program to forge stronger ties between Australia and the Jewish state.
Despite criticism of her visit, Ms Gillard has made no apologies for Australia's support of Israel.
"When a vote was called in 1947 to establish separate Jewish and Arab states, the Australian delegate was the first to vote in favour of Israel's right to full independent nationhood and its right to live securely within defined borders," she said.
"Our support has continued strongly ever since."
3 hours ago