Penny Wong special guest as NIF celebrates 10 years in Australia

October 28, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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New Israel Fund Australia celebrated ten years since its establishment last week with hundreds of supporters and donors coming together to hear from leading figures in Australia and Israel, including Labor shadow foreign affairs minister Senator Penny Wong.

Liam Getreu and Penny Wong                     Screenshots

During her remarks, Wong said: “Congratulations on ten years and thank you for your continued contribution to our democracy. I really respect and appreciate the contribution you, all of you, and you (NIF Australia executive director Liam Getreu) personally make.”

She went on to speak more broadly around the threats to liberal democracies internationally as well as recognising the need for people to speak and listen respectively when discussing Israel. She noted the inability of either side to recognise the competing dual narratives as a major stumbling block to peace and confirmed Australia as a steadfast friend of Israel.

She added: “I really thank you and NIF for the respectful way in which you engage in this discussion.”

She noted that it’s important for Labor to be clear on issues that they disagree with like annexation, settlement expansion and terrorist behaviour, adding that “you can be a friend of Israel but you can also be principled about the issues that you raised concerns about.”

In addition to the discussion with Senator Wong, the event was also treated to a discussion with two of NIF’s global board members, Palestinian-Israeli hi-tech entrepreneur Reem Younis and former deputy speaker of the Knesset Naomi Chazan. Both discussed the internecine violence between Jewish and Palestinian Israelis earlier in the year and their hopes that this will mark a positive turning point in Jewish-Arab relations.

The digital event also featured dozens of tributes from local NIF Australia supporters, many of whom have been involved since its founding in 2011.

“It’s clear from the extraordinary response NIF has had in Australia over the last ten years how important our voice is in the Jewish community,” said executive director Liam Getreu.

He added: “In the last decade thousands and thousands of people in the Jewish community have chosen to come to NIF to have honest and respectful conversations about Israel and support our important work on the ground,” said executive director Liam Getreu.

Since its establishment, NIF has distributed around $3 million to more than thirty civil society projects united by NIF’s mission to uphold the values of Israel’s Declaration of Independence which calls for equality, justice and democracy for all.


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