Melbourne Jewry Hits the Headlines in Croatia

November 23, 2011 by Michelle Coleman
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Melbourne’s 65,000-strong Jewish Community has made the headlines in Croatia following an historic dinner with the Croatian community in Victoria.

John Searle and Antun Babic

Leaders of the two communities gathered at Beth Weizmann to share dinner and their experiences as culturally diverse and largely immigrant communities in Victoria’s multicultural tapestry.

A press release by Croatian Consul General Antun Babic, who attended and addressed the dinner, was published by several government and non-government websites in Croatia, on the website of the Jewish Community in Zagreb, Croatia, and in the Croatian Herald in Melbourne. The story also featured on national radio in Croatia.

John Searle, president of the JCCV at the time of the dinner, said: “It was wonderful to see our two communities put historical animosities aside and gather together in the spirit of rapprochement and friendship. The dinner was exceptionally successful, and we hope to see our two communities grow closer into the future.”

“Croatia has extended the hand of friendship to both Israel and Jews in general, as evidenced in the Israel festival held there earlier this year.”

Mr Babic expressed his gratitude to Searle in an email, stating that all those who attended were “impressed… with the warmness and the hospitality by you personally and all other members of the JCCV. It was fantastic.”

Mr Babic also attended the Jewish Community Council of Victoria’s Triennial Conference on Monday night.

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