Rambam tour an “eyeopener”

February 27, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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“I’d recommend it to anyone else to be part of this particular study tour,” said MP Steve Georganas, the Federal Labor Member for Hindmarsh, South Australia, about his Rambam program trip to Israel in the first Sydney briefing of 2019. “I think it’s a real eye-opener.”

AIJAC NSW Chairman Paul Rubenstein, Steve Georganas MP, Jeremy Jones AM)

AIJAC’s NSW Chairman Paul Rubenstein hosted the briefing and introduced Mr Georganas, who described how his views on certain issues evolved on this trip after being exposed to the security elements. For instance, he went in with the perception of the Israeli wall along the Green Line being “dreadful” and needless, but by the end of his trip had entirely changed his mind. “When you get those stark raw figures [of Palestinian terrorist attacks and casualties] in front of you, you can understand, sure, it’s horrible… but what are the choices?”

He lamented that an entire generation has grown up without interacting with anyone from the other side, and praised small co-existence initiatives, like a kibbutz outside Bethlehem where former soldiers and previously convicted Palestinians work together in the gardens as part of the Shorashim (roots) project.

Georganas also spoke about the opportunities of strategic engagement between Australia and Israel, praising Israel’s technological prowess and entrepreneurial spirit and citing the historical ties between the two nations. “There’s a connection that goes back years with Israel,”  he said, recounting laying wreaths at the WWI memorial in Beersheba.

As an Orthodox Christian, Georganas found the trip very special on a spiritual level, particularly Bethlehem and Jerusalem. “I felt very in awe of the place. One of the promises I’ve made myself is to go back as a tourist and actually spend some time there,” he said.

AIJAC Director of International & Community Affairs  Jeremy Jones concluded the event by thanking Mr Georganas and emphasising the importance of actually visiting Israel before taking strong positions on the complex issues surrounding it.

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