Conflict discussion held in Melbourne

July 17, 2014 by Steve Yarrow
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Over 200 people have attended a meeting in Melbourne to discuss the current war between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza.

Panel   Pic: Steve Yarrow

Panel  Amit Tzur Tal, Executive Director/shlicha(EMISSARY)UIA, Jamie Hyams,Senior policy analyst, AIJAC, Bren Carlill, Middle East Analyst, Sam Tatarka President ZCV                         Pic: Steve Yarrow



A direct link was setup via Skype to an Israeli citizen, who described  the fear and disruption to everyday life,while sirens are constantly sounded to herd people to bomb shelters.

Children have been moved from the south for safety.

Five million Israelis are targeted by rocket fire. Tourism is down, with only 25% occupancy rates being reported by hotels and tour operators.

Students all over the world are cancelling their trips with Israel feeling the ‘pinch’.

The meeting learned there are psychological effects on young children and actions by Israel are being misrepresented by the international media.
A panel of 4 people was set up, to answer questions about the prospect of peace,or hope of a solution to the problem, and what lies ahead.

What we do know is that we care about protecting our people, our land,while the Palestinians use their people as human shields, and will not stop the war until they control all of Israel. It was made clear that any country which is fired upon must defend itself,no matter who is the aggressor.
Panelists were Amit Tzur Tal, Executive Director/shlicha(EMISSARY)UIA,   Jamie Hyams, Senior policy analyst,AIJAC,   Bren Carlill, Middle East Analyst and   Sam Tatarka President ZCV

A spokesperson for the organisers reported:

“What would Australia do if rockets were being fired from Frankston into Melbourne?” This was one of the questions posed to the audience by Zionist Council President, Sam Tatarka when answering a question relating to Israel’s perceived excessive force at an information evening held last night.

More than 200 community members braved the weather to hear the latest updates on the current situation in Israel. The Zionist Council of Victoria and the Zionist Federation of Australia information session was held at Beth Weizmann Community Centre.

There was live crossing via Skype to Michelle Rojas-Tal, Diaspora Education Director of StandWithUs. Michelle gave personal insight into the conflict in Israel. She spoke of the difficulties for families as it now in the middle of the school’s summer holidays and the struggle of what to do with their teenagers while they are working.

She also spoke of the huge psychological impact the constant sirens are having on children and their heightened anxiety and fears. The loss of tourism and the impact on businesses as well as the issues of using volunteers to help provide the thousands of additional reservists, called up because of the current situation with basic necessities such as toiletries and food.

Community members were able to ask the panel a variety of questions relating to the conflict. The ZCV and ZFA assembled an expert panel, made up of Zionist Council of Victoria President Sam Tatarka, Bren Carlill, Middle East Analyst, Jamie Hyams, Senior Policy Analyst, AIJAC and Amit Tzur Tal, Executive Director/Shlicha UIA who all provided expert analysis and insight into the situation.

The panel was moderated by ZFA President, Dr Danny Lamm who shared stories sent to him via friends and family in Israel who are experiencing rocket fire, sirens and living in fear.

The community asked questions ranging from Israel’s requirements under international law to continue providing water and electricity to Gaza, to how to deal with social media onslaught of negativity about Israel and the blatant misleading and biased reporting.

ZCV President Sam Tatarka summed up the situation succinctly saying: “You need to put the issues into context. Many people don’t understand the geographical proximity of Israel to Gaza. Imagine what you would do if rockets were fired from Melton into Melbourne or from Frankston into Melbourne? That is proximity we are talking about. How many rockets would need to be fired into Melbourne before we stood up and said enough is enough?”

The evening concluded with Hatikvah after another crossing to Israel to Magen David Adom which is Israel’s national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service, Director of International Relations and Fundraising Yoni Yagodovsky who illustrated what Israeli’s have to live with on a daily basis. He sounded the siren for the audience, explaining that MDA volunteers and personnel often treat casualties while under fire with rockets raining down on them.

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