ZFA plenary conference held in Canberra

September 13, 2017 by Hayley Hadassin
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The Zionist Federation of Australia has hosted its Plenary Conference followed by a political seminar on the Monday at Australian Parliament House.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, ZFA president Dr Danny Lamm and president of Zionism Victoria Sharene Hambur

A spokesperson said: “It was a milestone event that marked 90 years of the Federation and was held for the first time in Canberra – the home of the newest Zionist Council.”

The Plenary was an opportunity for over 100 people from the Councils and affiliate organisations across Australia to come together to commemorate 90 years of Zionism in Australia together with a strong contingent from the Zionist youth movements and AUJS.

Conference presenters provided a keen insight into Israeli life and the future Israeli landscape as well as the potential challenges for future interaction with the Jewish world.

Guest speaker futurist Professor David Passig spearheaded the dialogue, he said: – “The Australian Jewish community is somehow holding together and is not experiencing the pressures that are characteristics of the other communities. The Australian Jewish community is lagging behind the general trend, however the trend will catch up.”

He sees Israel and the Jewish people as undergoing a regeneration: – “We are now regrouping to develop the next phase of our uniqueness. It’s a historical challenge and the kids that are at school now will be part of the breakthrough in this process. They will come up with new ideas… We are going to redefine what exactly a Jewish State is, not a State for Jews.”

It was an interesting day with Member of Knesset Merav Michaeli discussing a range of issues including Israel as a feminist state, her proposal to cancel marriage and the possibility of a two state solution; – “We need to really find a solution and to not to just play the blame game…This is the main difference maybe between what we still call right and left and belonging to the centre left, I am not busy with saying the ‘Palestinian’s don’t want, the Palestinian’s will not agree or did not agree or they had their chance or whatever, because I am thinking of my interests as an Israeli and especially as an Israeli leader and my interest is in the State of Israel. As long as we keep the conflict as we have for the past 50 years, we will not have the energy, the space, the vacancy to figure out who we are (as a people) and yet at the same time we are clinging to it (the conflict,) because we are afraid to figure out who we are,” she said.

The speakers provided a heated pivot point for the room to raise questions and engage in spirited discourse, ensuring robust discussion.

Israeli Ambassador Shmuel Ben Shmuel addressed the ZFA’s conference for the last time in his post as Ambassador: – “For 90 years the ZFA has been a strong voice for the nation of Israel and for the Jewish people; engaging all age groups in advocating for Jewish interests and encouraging peace, unity and harmony throughout the Australian community. Given the current regional tensions in the Middle East and the rumblings within the domestic political landscape in Australia, the contributions of the ZFA have become increasingly needed and valuable… In times like these, it is a comfort to Israeli’s, like me, to know that we have firm friends to speak up for us within the Australian community. I want to congratulate the ZFA on the excellent work they have been doing to educate those around them about Israel and its interests.”

The Zionist Federation of Australia has led the Australian Jewish community in its support for Israel and in the development of connections, at so many levels, between Australia and Israel and will continue to do so for decades to come.

President of ZFA, Dr Danny Lamm concluded saying: – “We have had a very successful plenary and are proud of our increased representation in each State working together to support Israel and promote Zionism in Australia. As we celebrate our 90th anniversary milestone this year, we look to the future and pledge our continued dedication to strongly support Medinat Yisrael and its citizens.”


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