A special evening in Melbourne for UIA

February 27, 2019 by David Marlow
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The former Prime Minister of the UK David Cameron was the keynote speaker at the UIA Gala Dinner in Melbourne last night.

David Cameron Photo: Peter Haskin

 This year, the dinner was the largest kosher event ever held at Crown. The dinner is UIA’s major fundraising event and is one of the highlights of the Victorian Jewish community calendar, and this year was no exception with over 1400 community leaders, members of parliament, Rabbonim and Israel supporting community members.

The evening was MC’d by UIA President Hayley Southwick, who welcomed guests as well as the many politicians from both sides of the political fence, including notably her husband David Southwick, State Member for Caulfield.

A highlight of the evening was a presentation by Nataly Zagaya, an Israeli born daughter of Ethiopian parents who came to Israel as part of Operation Moses.  She participated in UIA’s Net@ project in 8th grade which exposes high-risk children to hi-tech.  This enabled Nataly to become a member of elite units in the IDF, including in communications and intelligence.  She is now the Net@ program manager in her home town of Beersheba.

Mr Cameron spoke strongly about his support for Israel, opposition to BDS and friendship with the Jewish state and the Jewish people.  He stated, “I am a Zionist.  I believe in the Jewish homeland”, describing Israel as a democracy surrounded by dictatorships.

 This was his first visit to Melbourne and his first visit to Australia since leaving the Prime Ministership.

He spoke extensively of the challenges faced by Israel, and how we shared many concerns such as in employment, education, the risk of terrorism and climate change.

Though he did point out with humour that the Knesset was a little different, stating that “the Knesset makes the Commons look like a vicarage tea party.” 

Mr Cameron was delighted that the Holocaust Commission he started would be building a Holocaust memorial in London, right next to the British Houses of Parliament, the heart of British democracy. 

He welcomed the recent announcement that supporting Hezbollah would be a crime in the United Kingdom.

Mr Cameron also lamented that the British Labor Party, which had a proud history of standing against racism, had been taken over by the far left who opposed what they perceived as US ‘imperialism’ and anyone they perceived as supporting them.  With the philosophy of the enemy of our enemy is our friend, they sought to be friends with the likes of Russia, Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah.

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