WA MP talks of her visit to Israel

September 14, 2017 by J-Wire Staff
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Federal Labor MP, Dr Anne Aly, member for Cowan in WA has addressed a public function hosted by the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) and UIA in Perth following her return from an AIJAC/Rambam federal Labor politician study visit to Israel earlier this year.

Col (ret.) Dr Eran Lerman, Dr Anne Aly MP, Dr Colin Rubenstein (AIJAC), Mr Joel Burnie (AIJAC) 

The group included, Senator Alex Gallacher, Julian Hill MP, Steve Georganas MP, Meryl Swanson MP and Milton Dick MP.

Dr Aly added that, “when the opportunity came to visit Israel, I was very grateful because I needed to have the experience, I needed to go and see for myself… to actually experience what it was like in Israel rather than fit into some kind of expectations about what side I must be on or what my opinions must be or, or you know what kind of position I should take on any of the issues…I really wanted to formulate my own opinions through my own experience, because nothing replaces the experience of actually being somewhere and having that experience of being there.”

She addressed her Muslim faith and upbringing and expanded on the exposure to Jewish people and Israel she received growing up in an Arab-Muslim household. “Growing up, my parents referred to the Jewish people as our cousins.  My mother always called Jewish people our cousins.  Always called Israelis our cousins.” Dr Aly who was born in Egypt but immigrated to Australia at the age of two with her parents added, “I went back to Egypt when I finished High School, and I went to the American University in Cairo … and entering politics I guess there was a kind of an expectation on me that I would take a certain position in this.”

Reflecting on her feelings for the future, she said, “it’s really easy to get caught up in the kind of despair of you know 40 or 50 years of no resolution, but what I saw, what I saw was inspiration.   What I saw was people who want to live in peace, people who want to live in peace with each other.” Dr Aly concluded her remarks by stating, “the only exposure that I really ever had to the whole Palestine-Israel question was with propaganda. We really need to be vigilant against that, and particularly we need to be vigilant against propagandising the situation to be about Muslim versus Jew. It’s not about Muslims versus Jews. Muslims and Jews are cousins.

Dr Aly’s recalled an emotional encounter at the Ziv hospital in Safed, where Israeli doctors treat victims of the Syrian Civil War. Dr Aly talked about her how she became a translator for her fellow MPs. She also reflected on her admiration for the doctors and staff who are treating the injured Syrians.

A small group of protestors outside the event at the Breckler-Troy Hall, Carmel High School did not detract from the overwhelming positive response from the large crowd to Dr Aly’s warm remarks. Also speaking was AIJAC’s guest Col Dr Eran Lerman who described the shifting alliances in the Middle East and Iran’s growing influence and threat not only to Israel but also to most of the Arab Sunni states, but explained the diplomatic sweet spot Israel had nonetheless achieved in recent years.

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