Israel and Greece sign record defense deal

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JERUSALEM — Israel and Greece have signed their biggest ever defense procurement deal, which Israel said on Sunday would strengthen political and economic ties between the countries.

The agreement includes a $1.65 billion contract for the establishment and operation of a training center for the Hellenic Air Force by Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems over a 22-year period, Israel’s defense ministry said.

The training center will be modeled on Israel’s own flight academy and will be equipped with 10 M-346 training aircraft produced by Italian company Leonardo, the ministry said.

Elbit will supply kits to upgrade and operate Greece’s T-6 aircraft and also provide training, simulators and logistical support.

“I am certain that (this program) will upgrade the capabilities and strengthen the economies of Israel and Greece and thus the partnership between our two countries will deepen on the defense, economic and political levels,” said Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz.

The announcement follows a meeting in Cyprus on Friday between the UAE, Greek, Cypriot and Israeli foreign ministers, who agreed to deepen cooperation between their countries.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch Editing by David Goodman)

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Super Rugby AU: Queensland Reds star Jordan Petaia shapes as Wallabies fullback option, France, Tom Wright, Dave Rennie, Israel Folau

He might not have played at fullback under Dave Rennie, but Jordan Petaia shapes a possible solution for the Wallabies in the No.15 jersey in the years to come.

Petaia and Brumbies flyer Tom Wright have both impressed Rennie out wide and the duo are both being considered as possible solutions to fill the void left by Israel Folau.

Even before Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia there was debate about whether he should be played at fullback or the wing, but it’s long been a position the Wallabies haven’t nailed since Chris Latham and Matthew Burke wore the jersey.

Kurtley Beale at times looked like a world beater in the position and was nominated as World Rugby player of the year in 2010 when occupying the role.

But his flaws under the high ball meant he shifted in and out of the role throughout his career.

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Federal government accused of failing the nation over AstraZeneca vaccine on Q+A as Martin Iles defends Israel Folau

The Australian government has been accused on Q+A of “failing at the first hurdle” when it comes to the nation’s vaccine rollout and problems with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The show aired on Thursday night following Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s press conference where he and his team announced the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has a possible link to rare blood clots in a very small number of recipients, would no longer be given to Australians under the age of 50.

Instead, they will be given the Pfizer vaccine, meaning Australia’s already behind-schedule vaccine rollout threatened to slow further.

On Q+A, multiple panellists criticised Mr Morrison for “backing the wrong horse” and not taking a wider approach to acquiring more different vaccines such as those from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

“Australians really set the global standard in looking after one another, locking down in a way that reduced our COVID numbers, and our reward for that was meant to be that we would be able to get back on track and for us to maybe get the jump-start on other countries,” said federal Labor MP Anika Wells, from Queensland.

“It comes down to, I think, the Prime Minister’s judgement about the vaccines that he chose, the numbers of those doses and why.


“When the UK, the US, chose other pathways like Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.”

Asked by host Hamish Macdonald if she was saying the Australian government had “backed the wrong horse”, she responded in the affirmative.

“We’ve been saying since last year, we need more horses in the race. We need five or six different vaccines.”

Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman refuted the claim Australia did not have enough vaccine options and said the government had invested in five.

But Indigenous lawyer Teela Reid also said the government had failed and accused them of being incompetent before also saying they had really failed First Nations people.

“I think the country needs options available to be vaccinated,” Ms Reid said.

“It has been absolutely the people who have come together and kept us safe, locked down and done the right thing — and I just think that, you know, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the majority of us are under 50.

“I think that it’s just been completely reckless and unacceptable in a developed country that we are here now and we’re still waiting for the option to be vaccinated.”

While Ms Reid and Ms Wells took the Prime Minister to task over the rollout, other panellists, journalist Antoinette Lattouf and Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Martyn Iles, felt the slow rollout was a blessing in disguise when it came to not too many Australians receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Ms Lattouf said this was a good problem to have while Mr Iles said the pivot in the vaccine strategy was not a massive problem before calling on people to leave people who have vaccine hesitancy alone.

“We don’t need to manufacture a crisis over the vaccine when we just don’t have one, ” Mr Iles said.

“It’s turning out that there’s some benefits of watching the rest of the world go just a little bit ahead of us.

“There are people in the community who have vaccine hesitancy and feel as though they, in good conscience, can’t take the vaccine.

“I actually want to go in to bat for them, I think we can respect someone’s conscience and achieve public health outcomes possibly at the same time.

“Everyone who wants it should get it [but] there’ll be some people who don’t want it, I reckon leave them alone, because the protection of conscience matters.”

‘Melanin count doesn’t change my access to truth’

Issues of gender bias in the halls of Parliament have been front and centre of late and one issue that has been raised is quotas.


Most of the Q+A panel was for the possible introduction of them except for Mr Iles, who drew scorn for, as he put it, being “the stereotypical white guy”.

“Quotas say a couple of things,” Mr Iles said.

“Some of them might be good, but some of them I’m concerned about.

“One of the things it says is that a parliament that is majority man or majority women, or majority one race or another cannot govern in the common interest, cannot govern for the common good, cannot actually seek after what is right and true.

“The melanin count in my skin doesn’t change my access to truth, it doesn’t change my ability to do good.”

It was then that Ms Lattouf immediately called him out.

“But it changes your lived experience,” she said.

“It changes your lens, it changes where you are in terms of privilege.

“It doesn’t mean that you can’t have empathy, it doesn’t mean that you’re not clever and good at your job but you don’t have skin in the game when it comes to women’s issues, when it comes to Indigenous issues.

Regardless of quotas, Ms Reid said they were not the major issue and said other issues should first be examined.

“If you look at the experience of some women at the top, take for example Julia Gillard, that was a horrendous experience to witness as a young woman, but also I can’t even imagine what she’s experienced, and that’s looking at a white woman,” she said.

“I wouldn’t even want to know what a black woman experiences in those contexts.”

Iles defends ACL support of Folau

Mr Iles, who has long been a staunch supporter of former rugby league and union star Israel Folau, featured prominently throughout the show.

In 2019, Mr Iles stood side-by-side with Folau and even helped launch a fund to support the then-rugby star in his legal battle with Rugby Australia after fundraising site GoFundMe pulled down his page asking for financial help for the fight.

Rugby Australia said they had sacked Folau for breaching their social media code of conduct for religious posts he made which also preached homophobic views, before the sides eventually settled.

This week, the Australian Christian Lobby spent a large sum of money on an advertisement in The Daily Telegraph to pressure the NRL into allowing Folau to return to rugby league.

Mr Iles was asked to defend that use of money and his relationship with Folau and the ongoing support he is receiving from the ACL.

Mr Iles began by saying Folau had been misrepresented in the media.


“The media have repeatedly said that Israel condemned homosexuals to hell, that is not the overall point of the post that he made.

“What he said was that sinners are destined for judgement, and yes, Christians understand that as hell … but then he turned to the other side of the coin and he said, ‘and forgiveness awaits to all who repent and put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ’.

“He said all of that in his post. Either you believe both sides of that coin — in which case, you are free, you have condemnation and salvation, you have judgement and release, you have repentance, you have faith — or you believe neither side.

Mr Iles rejected a comment by Ms Latouff that Folau had spread hate, saying that was not his motive.

But Mr Zimmerman, who in 2015 became Australia’s first openly gay MP, said that was in his view not the case with Folau.

“I’m not a religious person, but I was brought up in a religious family in the Uniting Church. It may not have been about hate, but it was certainly about love.

Mr Iles then went on to take aim at Rugby Australia and accused them of lying during the 2019 battle with Folau.

“He did not break a contract or a clause, if he did, it would have been relied upon by the tribunal that disciplined him.

“It wasn’t relied on because it didn’t exist.

“That’s a lie that was put out, I believe, by Rugby Australia to try and ruin his reputation.”

Watch the full episode of Q+A on iview.

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Israel High Tech Scene Week in Review Mar 20 – 26 (Happy Pesach!) – Jewish Business News

Israel High Tech Scene Week in Review Mar 20 – 26 (Happy Pesach!)

Tel Aviv at sunset, Israel

We have a short week this week because of the Passover holiday this weekend.

New Startups

Israeli Industrial Cybersecurity Company SCADAfence Protects Companies On Line (JBN)
The company just raised $12 million. SCADAfence is an Israeli startup in the field of cybersecurity for Operational Technology (OT) and Internet of Things (IoT) environments. The company just raised $12 million in funding led by existing investor JVP.

Israel’s Axis Security Provides Cybersecurity Services For The Cloud (JBN)
The company just raised another $50 million. Israel Cybersecurity startup Axis Security Inc. promises to protect your business as it does business in the cloud. Its solution is Application Access Cloud which the company says has a unique architecture that makes it simple to deploy, use, and manage while delivering more secure access. The company just raised $50 million in series C funding led by new investor Spark Capital, which had previously invested in Twitter, Tumblr, and Slack. Axis has raised $100 million to date.

Israeli Industrial Cybersecurity Company SCADAfence Protects Companies On Line (JBN)
The company just raised $12 million. SCADAfence is an Israeli startup in the field of cybersecurity for Operational Technology (OT) and Internet of Things (IoT) environments. The company just raised $12 million in funding led by existing investor JVP.

Veev Raises $100 Million to Reinvent the Way Homes are Built (Press Release)
The new financing will power Veev’s modular prefabrication approach, and bring the company’s total capital raised to nearly $200 million.

Israeli’s Morphisec Offers Cloud Security And Ransomware Defense (JBN)
Cybersecurity is more important than ever. Morphisec is an Israeli cybersecurity startup which offers in cloud-delivered endpoint and server security solution. It just raised $31 million in funding led by JVP. Other existing investors, including Orange and Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, also participated in the funding.

Utilis Is an Israeli Startup Which Finds New Underground Sources Of Water
The company just raised $6 million. Israeli startup Utilis calls itself a pioneer of satellite-based infrastructure intelligence. It basically uses satellites to detect underground sources of water. The company has raised $6 million from Beringea, a transatlantic venture capital firm, which will be used to accelerate the growth of its data-driven analytics enabling the detection of water leaks and infrastructure asset management.

Israeli Startup StarkWare Offers Cybersecurity Solutions
The company just raised $75 million. StarkWare is an Israeli cybersecurity startup which specializes in the development of solutions for enlarging blockchain capacity. The company just completed a $75 million financing round led by Paradigm and with the participation of existing investors Sequoia and Funders Fund, DCVC, Pantera and Wing and new investors Three Arrows and Alameda Research. The company has now raised $111 to date.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Fyber N.V Ad Tech Co Bought Out For $$600 Million By Digital Turbine (JBN)
Fyber helps app developers make money. Digital Turbine, Inc. (Nasdaq: APPS), is set to acquire the German-Israeli company Fyber N.V. for $600 million: $150 million in cash, $400 million in shares and $50 million in shares depending on future revenue. Fyber offers a platform to aid app developers monetize their products and to optimize profitability through quality advertising.

Twitter Has Acquired Israeli Startup Reshuffle (JBN)
No word yet on how much it cost. Twitter has bought out Reshuffle, an Israeli startup which offers an Application Programming Interface (API) solution. API is software which serves as an intermediary in that it enables two different applications to talk to each other. The sale price for Reshuffle has not yet been disclosed.

Yum! Brands to Acquire Leading Omnichannel Ordering and Marketing Platform Company (Press Release)
Acquisition Strengthens Yum! Brands’ Global Digital Ordering Capability and Integrates New Technology Talent into Company

IPO Talk and Unicorns

Orca Security Latest Israeli Unicorn with $1.2 Billion Valuation (JBN)
The status comes after a $210 round of funding. Israeli startup Orca Security is now a unicorn. The cybersecurity company reached this milestone when it completed a $210 million Series C round of funding led by CapitalG, Alphabet’s independent growth fund, and Redpoint Ventures, which left it with a $1.2 billion valuation.

Israeli Video Startup Kaltura Now Sees $2 Billion IPO (JBN)
That’s up from $1 billion expected just a few weeks ago. Kaltura, an Israeli startup which provides live and on-demand video SaaS solutions, has upgraded its expectations for its initial public offering. The company now says that it expects a $2 billion valuation once it holds an IPO on the NASDAQ, doubling the previous estimate of just $1 billion made only a few weeks ago. Its will be listed under KLTR.

Israeli Video Startup Kaltura Now Sees $2 Billion IPO (JBN)
That’s up from $1 billion expected just a few weeks ago. Kaltura, an Israeli startup which provides live and on-demand video SaaS solutions, has upgraded its expectations for its initial public offering. The company now says that it expects a $2 billion valuation once it holds an IPO on the NASDAQ, doubling the previous estimate of just $1 billion made only a few weeks ago. Its will be listed under KLTR.

Israeli Driver Safety Startup SaverOne Looking To Expand To The NASDAQ (JBN)
The company already lists on the TASE. SaverOne is an Israeli company which offers a new system takes which can take control over a driver’s telephone and prevent the use of dangerous applications. Globes reports that the company is thinking of offering its shares for sale on the NASDAQ. The news comes less than a year after it went public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).

Read more about: IPO, startups

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Israel election: Benjamin Netanyahu’s fate uncertain as exit polls indicate no clear winner


xit polls indicate there is no clear winner in the Israeli election, leaving Benjamin Netanyahu’s fate uncertain and signalling continued political deadlock.

The polls on Israel’s three main TV stations showed Prime Minister Mr Netanyahu, his allies and opponents all falling short of a parliamentary majority.

That could set the stage for weeks of paralysis and even an unprecedented fifth consecutive election.

If the final results are in line with the exit polls, both sideswill have to court Naftali Bennett, a former Netanyahu ally withstrained relations with the prime minister, to form a majority in the120-seat Knesset, or parliament.

Mr Bennett shares Mr Netanyahu’s hard-line nationalist ideologybut has signalled he would be open to cooperating with his rivals ifgiven the chance to be prime minister.

Later, Mr Netanyahu claimed a “great victory” for his right-wing bloc, despite the still inconclusive results.

In a statement on Facebook late on Tuesday, Mr Netanyahu saysIsraelis have “given a great victory to the right and to the Likud undermy leadership”.

The Likud emerged as the largest individual party and right-wing parties dominated the results, according to exit polls.

But some of those parties oppose Mr Netanyahu, making it unclear whether he will be able to form a new government.

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Coronavirus:Benjamin Netanyahu reaches power-sharing deal with Benny Gantz to tackle COVID-19 in Israel

After March 2 elections left both men short of a required parliamentary majority, Netanyahu and Gantz agreed to try to form a unity government because of the burgeoning coronavirus crisis. The talks stalled several times, reportedly over Netanyahu’s personal legal problems, sparking concern that they would plunge the country into new elections.


The deal required major compromise by both men. During three bitter campaigns over the past year, Gantz and his party vowed never to serve in a government under Netanyahu so long as he faced a slew of corruption charges. After 11 years as prime minister, Netanyahu agreed to step aside and allow Gantz to take the job, if the coalition managed to survive long enough.

“We prevented a fourth election,” Gantz tweeted. “We will protect democracy. We will battle corona and we will worry about all the citizens of Israel.”

While the government was ostensibly formed to deal with the pandemic, which has killed more than 170 Israelis and ravaged the economy, negotiations revolved largely around Netanyahu’s trial, set to start next month.

Political analyst Avraham Diskin, who was involved in crafting part of the coalition deal, said guarantees by both sides were critical. Netanyahu wanted a guarantee he would not be forced to resign after Gantz takes over as prime minister. Israeli law requires all public officials, except for the prime minister, to step down if charged with a crime.

For Blue and White, that meant assurances that Netanyahu wouldn’t topple the government before Gantz becomes leader, Diskin said.

“There was a total lack of trust,” he said. “I pray that the government will hold up and won’t miss the opportunity with fights over nonsense.”

In a joint statement, the parties said they would form a six-month “emergency” government focused on the coronavirus crisis. In the meantime, they will work on a “policy outline” for a long-term unity government.

The deal could clear the way for Netanyahu’s campaign promise to annex large parts of the West Bank after July 1. Gantz has raised concerns about the plan, which is bitterly opposed by the Palestinians and much of the international community, saying it could only take place with broad international support.

Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said the new government would have two options: “to either open the doors for a meaningful peace process or to further jeaopardise any hope for peace.”


Last month’s election, just like the campaigns last September and April, ended with no clear winner. But with a slight majority of MPs endorsing him, Gantz was chosen first by the country’s figurehead President to try to build a coalition government.

The glue holding together Gantz’s different backers was their shared animosity toward Netanyahu. Gantz began to move forward with legislation that would have disqualified the indicted Netanyahu from serving as prime minister in the future.

But with the virus crisis worsening, and his own shaky alliance fraying, Gantz made an about-face late last month and accepted an offer from Netanyahu to pursue a joint government to deal with the pandemic. The move drew heavy criticism from Gantz’s supporters and tore apart his Blue and White alliance.

Negotiations continued even after Gantz’ allotted time to build a coalition ended last week. The Knesset, or parliament, had been given until May 7 to select a candidate for prime minister. Otherwise, it would automatically have been dissolved and triggered new elections.

On Sunday night, several thousand demonstrators, including Gantz’s former political partner Yair Lapid, gathered in Tel Aviv to protest the emerging deal. Protesters accused Netanyahu of using the coronavirus crisis to shield himself from prosecution and accused Gantz of abandoning his central campaign promises.

“You don’t fight corruption from within. If you’re inside, you’re part of it,” Lapid said.

Israeli Prime Minister Banjamin Netanyahu.Credit:AP

Netanyahu is awaiting trial on charges of accepting bribes, breach of trust and fraud. He has denied any wrongdoing and portrays himself as a victim of a media and judicial witch hunt. Citing the coronavirus crisis, Netanyahu’s hand-picked justice minister has already delayed the trial by two months by shuttering most of the court system.

Israel has identified more than 13,000 cases of the coronavirus. While this week the country began relaxing some of its health restrictions, hundreds of thousands are out of work and the economy has come to a standstill.


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Israel and vaccines. A template for Britain? – Channel 4 News

28 Feb 2021

Is Israel’s vaccination programme a sign of hope for Britain?

Israel, like us, is easing out of a third lockdown and like us, has ensured the most vulnerable are vaccinated. But Israel is also far ahead of us in its vaccination drive – and is now using vaccine passports as it opens gyms, bars and restaurants – as it attempts to get back to normal. Our foreign affairs correspondent, Jonathan Rugman, explains the bumps along Israel’s road, as it battles vaccine hesitancy amongst the young, the flouting of rules from religious groups and the lack of support towards the Palestinians. Is Israel’s vaccination programme a sign of hope for Britain?



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HRW highly critical of Australian response to ICC ruling

The International Criminal Court (ICC) last week handed down a historic ruling confirming that the court’s prosecutor has the power to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity in Palestine. After half a century of impunity since the Israeli occupation began, the ICC decision finally offers some real hope for justice, as crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip may now to be subject to a formal probe.

So it was alarming to hear Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne slam the ICC’s decision, saying that Australia “does not recognize a State of Palestine,” has “deep concerns” with the ruling, and that the ICC “should not exercise jurisdiction in this matter.” While several other states also signaled their disagreement on the merits of this ruling, no other country to date has explicitly said the court should not exercise jurisdiction in this case.

Australia, a member of the ICC, was among seven countries that intervened in the court proceedings to argue that the ICC did not have jurisdiction over the situation in Palestine.

The panel of judges invited written submissions while they considered the issue, but ultimately held that the court’s jurisdiction does extend to Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The UN General Assembly recognized Palestine as a state. As a result, the court’s pretrial chamber ruled that Palestine’s accession to the ICC treaty confers jurisdiction to the court for crimes committed on its territory.

Australia regularly supports and defends Israel’s actions on the international stage. But an ICC probe is not about taking sides in a political conflict. It’s about ensuring that perpetrators of serious international crimes, both Israeli and Palestinian, answer for their actions at a fair trial. As a court of last resort, the ICC has a critical role to play in situations like Palestine where the path to domestic justice is closed and impunity is the norm.

Recently, Australia has spoken out on human rights abuses across Asia, calling attention to China’s mass abuses in Xinjiang, human rights violations in Hong Kong, and the military coup in Myanmar.

If Australia wants to be a credible voice on human rights, it should speak out wherever abuses occur and respect the ICC’s decisions. It should be consistent in its support for justice, accountability, and the rule of law regardless of the context.

Instead of undermining the ICC, Australia should voice its support for the court, protect its independence, and stop trying to block a Palestine investigation.

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Israel Folau seeks meeting with rugby league bosses

Israel Folau wants to sit down with NRL bosses and ask them face-to-face whether he has a future in the code.

It emerged earlier this month the Dragons were chasing the cross-code superstar, but pulled out of their hunt because of the fierce backlash that erupted when news of their pursuit was made public.

Folau hasn’t played in the NRL since he left the Broncos in 2010. He played AFL then moved to rugby union, before Rugby Australia ripped up his contract for making homophobic comments on social media.

Unable to play the 15-man code Down Under, he headed overseas and reignited his rugby league career with Catalans Dragons, who play in the UK Super League.

Even though St George’s bid failed, Folau is still keen to return to the code where he announced himself to Australia as a teenage superstar more than a decade ago.

Channel 7 reported on Tuesday night the 31-year-old wants to meet with Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V’landys and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo to discuss “whether he has a future in the code”.

“Folau’s representatives wrote to ARLC chairman Peter V’landys and NRL CEO Andrew Abdo last week to request a sit-down,” Seven reporter Michelle Bishop said.

However, the Sydney Morning Herald reports the NRL knocked back the offer, and won’t sit down with Folau unless a club makes a formal application to sign him.

The NRL hasn’t put a blanket ban on Folau returning but there have been suggestions he would be more trouble than he’s worth should he make a comeback. This week V’landys said the league would assess any application by a club to recruit the controversial footy player “on its due merits”.

“Like any other person in the community he deserves due process and natural justice and he will get that,” V’landys told Andrew Voss on SEN.

RELATED: Folau backflips on social media stance

Folau debuted for the Melbourne Storm as a teenager in 2007 before moving north to play two seasons with the Broncos between 2009-2010. The explosive back played five Origins for Queensland and eight Tests for Australia before dropping a bombshell and quitting to play AFL.

A short stint at GWS was followed by a 73-Test run with the Wallabies before his acrimonious break-up with the 15-man code Down Under.

He signed a one-year extension last July to keep him at Catalans for the 2021 season but with COVID-19 causing havoc around the world, Folau returned to Australia during the summer and is keen to stay.

V’landys has said previously Folau’s views on homosexuality are not welcome in the NRL. In October 2019, the NRL boss poured cold water over the idea of Folau ever returning.

“The game is inclusive. Israel’s comments are not inclusive,” V’landys said then.

“When I was a kid and kids used to get bashed up because they were different, I used to go and defend them. And a lot of them, it’s because their role models or their peers made them that way.

“I have no tolerance for people that put other people’s lives (at risk) or (who commit) violence. It’s a big statement to make. With due respect to Israel, what he says, young kids listen to. He is a role model. They act on it. And when you’re a kid at school and you get bashed up because you’re different, I don’t think that’s a good thing.”

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Israel Folau’s request for face-to-face NRL meeting knocked back

One club boss described Folau as “damaged goods”, while another admitted the risk wasn’t worth taking.

However, the fact Folau was keen to personally put his case to powerbrokers at Rugby League Central suggests he is confident of attracting interest if head office gives its blessing.

Israel Folau still wants to return to the NRL.Credit:Getty

French Super League club Catalans signed Folau after his acrimonious split with Rugby Australia, prompted by controversial social media posts during his time in the sport. The 31-year-old is prepared to guarantee he won’t publicly express his religious beliefs if the NRL allows him to return.

Folau is still contracted to Catalans for the current season, but has returned to Australia for family reasons. Catalans coach Steve McNamara is resigned to the former GWS Giants player never playing for the club again.

“One hundred per cent Izzy is always welcome to come back here,” McNamara said this month. “He still has a contract here. Given the severity of his family situation, we understand it might not be possible for him to come back.”


If Folau was allowed to return to the NRL, Catalans would likely get a transfer fee in exchange for freeing him from his contract.

St George Illawarra attracted intense criticism for pursuing Folau. Ian Roberts, who in 1995 became the first professional footballer in any code to come out as gay while still playing, panned the decision.

“Rugby league isn’t solely about winning and losing,” Roberts told the Herald earlier this month.

“I don’t know who okayed this and thought it was a good idea or thought it would be good for the club at St George Illawarra – the coach, the board, whatever. But they would have to reflect upon their position in rugby league.

“This is about the very fabric of what rugby league is about; it’s about community, inclusion, integrity.

“This isn’t about winning and losing games. At what cost? I’m just disappointed it got this far.”

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