Sydney celebrates Yom Ha’atzmaut

May 12, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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More than 500 people attended the annual communal Yom Ha’atzmaut cocktail reception in Sydney where NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet delivered the keynote address.

Darren Bark (CEO NSWJBD), Lesli Berger (NSWJBD) Premier Domenic Perrottet, Chris Minns, Jillian Segal (President ECAJ) Ambassador Amir Maimon, Rodney Naumberger (SZCNSW)   Photo: Giselle Haber

Dominic Perrottet presented the Premier’s Award to New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies’ president Lesli Berger

The event was hosted by JBD CEO Darren Bark and included speeches by Opposition Leader Chris Minns and Israeli ambassador to Australia Amir Maimon.

The Premier announced that the NSW Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology will be engaging with a Western Sydney Trade Mission to Israel later this year.

He told the gathering: “The modern state of Israel is home to only around 9 million people.

Yet its global impact is orders of magnitude higher. As a nation and as a people, Israel plays to its strengths.

It is home to one of the most advanced innovation eco-systems in the world. A global leader in technology, research and development

And a major exporter of professional services, including finance and tourism.”

He added: “Before I offer a toast to the State of Israel, I would like to acknowledge a great leader of the Jewish community here in NSW.

As you all know, Lesli Berger is soon to conclude his time as President of the Board of Deputies.

His work, after taking the reins in very challenging circumstances, is a large part of why the Jewish Board of Deputies is as strong as it is today.

On behalf of the NSW Government, I would like to present Lesli with a distinguished award to recognise his service and wish him well for the future.”

The Leader of the Opposition in the NSW Parliament Chris Minns said that Israel’s high-tech sector is the envy of the world – pulling in international investment, encouraging more than 7,000 start-ups and fuelling a growing, dynamic economy.”

He added that the resurrection of the ancient Hebrew language is also “a wonder of the world”.

He continued: “Early migrants to Israel in the years immediately after 1948 were said to be shocked to see parents telling their children to tuck their shirts in, or quit playing and come in for dinner, in the same language as the prophets.

Israel is not alone in the world. But that does not mean it needs no help from her friends.

Bipartisan rejection of the boycott, divestment and sanction movement will continue under my leadership of the NSW Labor Party.

And the BDS movement has been vocally and consistently rejected by the Federal Leader of the Labor Party, Anthony Albanese.

There is also bipartisan support for the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism by both federal and state governments.”

Israel’s ambassador to Israel Amir Maimon told the gathering: “The creativity and genius of the Jewish people are bursting forth in every area in science and technology. In medicine and agriculture in the arts. The results of these successes, promise a great future not just for the Jewish people, but for all mankind. This double miracle is a testament to the life force of the Jewish people. It is a testament to the deep wells of how we carry inside us and the deep connection that we have both to our past and to our future. Israel will continue to defend itself and its people we will prevail and prosper. And we will work for peace with all those who are willing. If we stand together, if we remain committed to our common destiny, there is nothing we cannot achieve.”

Lesli Berger spoke the last time at a Yom Ha’azmaut as the president of The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies. He said: “A beacon of light that has had to persevere through so much hate and hostility, Israel is a shining example of how such a small country can make such an outstanding contribution to the world.

Israel may be relatively small, but it is innovative, caring, generous and invests in the people around her to make the world a better place.”

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