A belated happy birthday

June 12, 2014 by David Marlow
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A Yom Haatzmaut Cocktail Reception has been held in Queen’s Hall at the Victorian State Parliament.

Over 240 State and Federal politicians, including the Premier and Leader of the Opposition and community leaders, including the Israeli Ambassador HE Shmuel Ben-Shmuel celebrated Israel’s Independence in a bipartisan way.  The event was jointly hosted by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) and Zionist Council of Victoria (ZCV).

JCCV president Nina Bassat addressed the function…


Leader of the Opposition Daniel Andrews, Nina Bassat and Premier Denis Napthine

“I never cease to be struck with a sense of wonderment at the miracle which is the modern State of Israel. The very fact that it has come into being in my lifetime, a lifetime which has encompassed possibly the darkest days in the history of the Jewish people, is in itself to be marvelled at. But over and beyond that, is what that State has achieved in 66 years, a mere millisecond in the pages of history.

Beset by numerous problems in her short, turbulent life, Israel, as you have heard, has achieved much – culturally, technically, economically and morally, where it seeks to maintain the highest standards of democracy in a region sadly devoid of democracies.

During the past year, I have been privileged to hear the views of a number of Parliamentarians, State and Federal, from Government and from Opposition, who had just returned from visiting Israel.

Whilst each perspective has been different, there has been a commonality in all their observations. What has struck them is the innovative technology, the vibrancy of the way of life, the deep and abiding sense of history, Israel’s eagerness to share its knowledge and to partner with countries worldwide to improve so many areas of our life, and of course the close partnerships that are being formed between the State of Victoria and various Israeli entities.

But over and above that each politician has commented on the incredibly small size of the country, and the complexity of the issues surrounding the desire for peace.

They are aware that anyone who thinks that achieving peace in the area is a simple matter, has no understanding of the issues.

And equally, they are aware that anyone who thinks achieving peace is impossible, has no understanding of the depth of desire for peace which fuels the Israeli psyche.

There are strong bonds and similarities between Australia and Israel. Both countries share a vigour and directness, a commitment to democracy and to the rule of law and a determination to forge a tolerant, open society, embracing many cultures.

Australian Jews sometimes take for granted the friendship which the political leaders of this country extend to Israel. But we do not have to look far beyond our shores to see less friendly, indeed, hostile reactions to Israel. You should know that we treasure your friendship and value your support.

On behalf of the Victorian Jewish Community, thank you for celebrating Israel’s 66th year of Independence with us and for helping to strengthen the links, and the closeness which thesesimilarities engender.”

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