The Zionist Federation of Australia is delighted by the success of the communal function for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which was held at the Central Synagogue in Sydney last night in front of 2,000 community members, politicians and journalists.
PM Netanyahu and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull entered with the official party which included their wives Sara and Lucy, Israel’s Ambassador to Australia Shmuel Ben Shmuel, Australia’s Ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma, Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yuval Rotem, former Australian Prime Ministers Tony Abbott and John Howard, and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
At the event, ZFA President Dr. Danny Lamm had the honour of introducing PM Turnbull and PM Netanyahu to the stage. Noting that the audience comprised of members of Jewish communities throughout Australia, Dr. Lamm thanked PM Netanyahu for his commitment to “the future of the Diaspora communities and the strengthening of their connection to our ancestral homeland Israel”. He also thanked him for his ongoing interest and support for the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organisation, and for other programs that strengthen the Diaspora.
In a speech speckled with Yiddish words and a comfortable familiarity with the community, PM Turnbull addressed the audience and spoke of his solidarity with Israel in the wake of that UN Resolution (2334) which was “so regrettable”. He warmly addressed PM Netanyahu by his nickname “Bibi” and noted that the two countries are united by “shared values, democracy, freedom and the rule of law”. He also paid tribute to the Australian Jewish community which has “helped us make Australia the extraordinary nation that it is”.
In an evening full of rousing applause and standing ovations, the loudest cheers of the night were reserved for PM Netanyahu who saluted Diaspora Jews and talked about the dream of returning to our ancestral homeland which we never gave up on. He thanked ZFA President Dr. Lamm and Mark Leibler, a former President of the ZFA for their kindness and friendship over many years. And finally he invited the entire audience to visit Israel and to see how “we have performed miracles because we are committed to our destiny”.
Of the evening, Dr. Lamm said, “it was such an honour to be there on such a momentous and historic night for Australian Jewry. A lot of hard work went into the organisation of the event, and to look around and watch 2,000 community members singing Hatikvah along with the Prime Minister of Israel was a truly unforgettable experience.”