Vale Bob Hawke

May 17, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Zionist Federation of Australia has expressed its deepest sympathies and condolences on behalf of the Australian Jewish community to the family of the late Bob Hawke, Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister, in news of his passing at age 89 on the 16th of May 2019.

Prime Minister Bob Hawke 1983 Photo: Wikimedia Commons

President of the ZFA, Jeremy Leibler stated: “Bob Hawke was a true friend of the Jewish community, an icon, and the pinnacle symbol of leadership in this country.”

“Hawke led many important social, environmental and economic reforms and left a permanent mark on this country with his great skill, connection to people and his true authenticity. For the Jewish community, he will always be treasured and remembered with the way he genuinely cared about the plight of Soviet Jewry and the longevity and success of Israel.”

“Hawke did not have to fight for Soviet Jewry, but he chose to do so anyway, defying the advice of his own department in the process to lobby for the right for Jewish Refuseniks from the former Soviet Union to be able to emigrate and live freely – a remarkable feat that millions of migrants including those who migrated to Australia to this day, are eternally grateful for.”

“It is also evident from Hawke’s overall strong record on Israel that he was genuinely invested in and cared about the security of the State of Israel.”

“In 1987, Hawke became the first ever sitting Australian Prime Minister to visit Israel. Just four years later in 1991, under Hawke’s leadership and following a campaign led by the ZFA, Australia was the first country in the world that passed a unanimous motion to rescind the infamous Zionism is racism’ resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in 1975.”

“Hawke pushed a more tolerant society, proactively protecting minority communities and ensuring a better Australia that we are all ultimately grateful for and enjoy today.”

“Vale, Bob Hawke. You are a true Chaver and Mentsch and will be missed by the entire Australian Jewish community. May your memory be forever a blessing”.

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) mourns the passing of Bob Hawke, one of Australia’s greatest statesmen, and a much-beloved friend of both the Australian Jewish community and of Israel.

As Prime Minister, Hawke will always be remembered for his mastery of policy detail and inspiring leadership while maintaining an unwavering authenticity and approachability. These qualities enabled him to steer a government that pushed through transformative reforms that truly changed the face of Australian society and its place in the world.

Earlier, as ACTU leader, Hawke set the scene for these reforms by guiding the Australia labour movement forward with new approaches to the economic problems and challenges of the late 20th century.

The uniquely warm relationship Hawke forged with our Jewish community, and its leaders at the time, both at the ACTU and when he entered politics, will always be cherished. AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler was one of those leaders who worked closely with him in those years in his then capacity as President of the Zionist Federation of Australia, and recalls with gratitude his great warmth and openness.

During Hawke’s eight years in government, his genuine affection for Israel throughout his public career saw Australia-Israel relations reach new heights – including the first ever visit to Australia by an Israeli President and the first ever visit to Israel by a serving Australian Prime Minister.

He also deserves to be remembered with sincere gratitude for the courageous role he took in the campaign on behalf of Soviet Jewry, for his pioneering efforts in government to overturn the odious “Zionism is Racism” resolution at the UN, for his efforts to encourage peace between Israel and its neighbours, and for forging close bonds between the ACTU and the Histradrut, Israel’s equivalent trade union body.

Bob Hawke was a truly great Australian whose positive contributions to this nation were profound. AIJAC offers our sincerest condolences to his family and many friends. May his memory be a blessing.

Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of The ADC commented on the death of former PM Bob Hawke, a member of the ADC’s Council of Advisors for more than two decades:

“Today, our nation has lost a great leader. We are deeply saddened by the death of Bob Hawke, a member of the Anti-Defamation Council of Advisors for more than two decades, who was a towering and gifted statesman, and an extraordinary individual who had a lasting impact on Australian society. A true friend of the Jewish people and the state of Israel, I got to know him  during my time as Chairman and always enjoyed our conversations. We will never forget his commitment to the cause of the Soviet Refuseniks and his support for a broad range of Jewish causes, for which we will always be grateful.  He served our country with distinction, and the ADC admired his lifelong dedication to civil rights and to the fight against racism. Respected and treasured by all who knew him, we extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to his family, friends and supporters. He leaves behind a formidable legacy and shall be sorely missed. May his memory be a blessing to us all.”

Formerly Israel’s ambassador to Australia Yuval Rotem, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, tweeted: “Sorrowfully we mourn the loss of a dear friend BobHawke. The first Australian PM to visit Israel and a great Australian!

I had the privilege of accompanying him on his trip already as a Cadet in 1987, and learnt to value his leadership and friendship 🇮🇱🇦🇺”
The Zionist Council of New South Wales is deeply saddened, as we mourn the passing of former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke.
During his term as Prime Minister, Bob Hawke was a staunch friend of the Jewish community and the State of Israel, in 1987 becoming the first serving Australian Prime Minister to visit the Jewish state.
But we shall remember him most and be forever indebted for being a leading international voice in support of Soviet Jewry, speaking out on the world stage when so many others would not and opening Australia to refugees and Refuseniks from the Soviet Union.
May his memory be a blessing.


One Response to “Vale Bob Hawke”
  1. Ian katz says:

    Bob hawke was a true friend of the Jewish people especially in 1988 when he told Jewish holocaust survivors to respect the Palestinian plight , and when he criticised the visit to Australia of the Israeli prime minister. Indeed a good friend.

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