Celebrating Israel in Parliament House

November 30, 2017 by Yvette Goode
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Marking 70 years since the UN Partition Resolution 181 was passed on 29 November 1947, a cocktail reception was held in the Mural Hall, Parliament House, Canberra, on November 29, 2017.

Julie Bishop toasts the Australia-Israel relationship
Photo: Eldad Ohayon

The event was hosted by Senator David Fawcett, Chair of the Australia-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group and Senator for South Australia. The occasion also marked the commencement of the 70th Anniversary Celebrations of the establishment of the  State of Israel. Dalia Sinclair convened the event,assisted by the Embassy of Israel, The National Council of Jewish Women of Australia ,the Zionist Federation of Australia, The Executive Council of Australian Jewry and The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council..

Gila and Chazan Josh Weinberger, Ambassador Mark Sofer and Peter Wertheim [ECAJ]   Photo: Eldad Ohayon

Senator Fawcett welcomed various ambassadors singling out the new Israeli Ambassador to Australia, Mark Sofer, Dr Colin Rubenstein, Mark Dreyfus, Anton Bloch, Dr Anita Shroot, Dalia Sinclair, Yael Cass and from the Israeli Embassy, Ms Anat Sultan-Dadon, Deputy Chief of Mission, who read a most heartfelt message from Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Convenor Dalia Sinclair
Photo: Bill Arnold

Senator Fawcett introduced Julie Bishop, who spoke very warmly about the enduring friendship between Australia and Israel, noting that in 1947 Australia was the first country to vote in favour of the creation of a Jewish homeland and paying tribute to Israel as a beacon of democracy in a troubled part of the world. She commented on the successful reciprocal visits of respective Prime Ministers and the fact that both Israel and Australia are open democracies, working together in many fields, but particularly in security, terrorism and cyber security, as well as in the field of innovation. Ms Bishop concluded by saying that Australia is one of the few nations to stand up for Israel in the UN and that one-sided, biased resolutions against Israel will not be supported.

In a short video presentation, the role of Australian diplomacy with regard to Resolution 181 was mentioned. The ecstatic greeting of the creation of the State of Israel by Jews already living in Palestine was clearly shown, as being  Jews no longer without a homeland.+

Israeli Ambassador to Australia, Mark Sofer, spoke of the outpouring of friendship between Australia and Israel he has seen in his short time in Australia and noted that Resolution 181 changed the course of history for Jewish people, especially after the horrors of the Holocaust. He said that while Israel is still yearning for peace with all its neighbours, it keeps looking towards the future and the changes in 70 years have been remarkable. From a small, agricultural society to a thriving nation, Israel is ready to share its technological advances with the world. He

Mark Sofer Photo; Bill Arnold

concluded by saying that there is reason to hope for a better future, with Israel living in peace, harmony and prosperity.

Sydney’s The Great Synagogue’s cantor Josh Weinberger read the Prayers for Australia and the State of Israel with the musical part of his presentation being accompanied by Shirley Politzer.

Throughout the evening, the sincerity of the guests, the smiling faces and the warmth of feeling for the friendship between Australia and Israel was clearly obvious, with congenial conversations continuing long after the formal part of the event had concluded.

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