Netanyahu Leaves for Amsterdam and the Hague

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left for a working visit to the Netherlands Wednesday, where he'll meet with parliamentarians and senior government officials.

"The goal of the visit is to strengthen bilateral ties and advance cooperation in various fields," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement released late Tuesday.

Netanyahu will meet with Queen Beatrix, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen. He will also meet with Defense Minister Hans Hillen and Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal and members of the foreign affairs and defense committees.

The prime minister plans to visit Amsterdam's Portuguese synagogue, built in 1675 by Jews exiled from Spain and Portugal.

He will also present a Bible to Prof. Dr. Johan Willem Van Hulst, who helped members of the Dutch resistance movement smuggle hundreds of Jewish babies and children from the Nazis. Van Hulst was named Righteous among the Nations by Jerusalem's Yad VaShem in 1973. The professor will celebrate his 100th birthday on Jan. 28.

The two countries plan to establish an inter-governmental council to "promote bilateral defense and foreign affairs cooperation and to increase economic cooperation, especially regarding the private sector, student exchanges, agro-technology development, the environment, research and development and tourism," the statement concluded.

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