Generational dissonance and generational change were dominant in discussions through the course of the Zionist federation of Australia’s biennial conference on Sunday 11 November.
Attended by over 120 delegates from across Australia and New Zealand, highlights included a panel discussing the challenges and opportunities in the Australia-Israel relationship. Panelists and the audience engaged in a spirited discussion which delved deep into interesting and sometimes even controversial questions around the nature and definition of Zionism and how it’s expressed and how broad our Zionist “big blue tent” can and should be.
Richard Marles MP, Shadow Minister for Defence, gave a keynote address in which he demonstrated not only his sound understanding of the history of the strong bonds between Israel and Australia but his personal commitment to maintaining and further strengthening them.
The theme of generational dialogue continued with discussion round tables on topics initiated and facilitated by the seven Zionist youth movements and AUJS. Multiple discussions on topics as varied as Israeli politics, the Jewish community’s attitude to refugees, engaging the disengaged and more gave food for thought, prompted heated discussion and covered many important issues in the Zionist world today.
The Biennial Conference saw the election of our new generation of leadership, with Jeremy Leibler being elected as President, bringing with him an energetic new group of vibrant community leaders who will join the Executive, retaining the experience and wisdom of current leaders.
President Jeremy Leibler remarked in his opening speech: “In Australia, our diversity reflects the strength of the Zionist movement.
We must ensure that each tribe has a place at the table because of our differences, not despite them. We must work together towards our common goals because our whole is greater than the sum of our parts.
We must step out of our fortresses and engage. If we refuse to talk to those with whom we disagree, we abandon any prospect of finding common ground.
Our ability to find that common ground as a movement is pivotal to the Federation’s ability to meet its obligations as the primary representative body of the Zionist Movement.”
The new Executive of the Zionist Federation is:
President – Jeremy Leibler
Vice Presidents (presidents of the State Zionist Councils) – Richard Balkin (Senior VP), Sharene Hambur, Jeff Lin, Tony Leverton, Ehud Hauben/ Shaun Dwyer, Daniel Coppel
Honorary Treasurer – Ben Simon
Honorary Secretary – Rebecca Lacey Ehrlich
Immediate Past President, Danny Lamm AM
Chair, Public Affairs – Noa Bloch
Chair, Information – Adele Stowe Lindner
Chair, Education – Miriam Munz
Chair, Youth and Young Adults – Saul Burston
Honorary Life Member – Ron Weiser AM
Without Portfolio – Philip Chester
Without Portfolio – Roger Selby
Lay Leader – Diller Teen Fellows – Elana Lewin
Chair, Arava Australia Partnership – Tamara Bruce.
Leibler said: “I look forward to working with the new executive to strengthen the Zionist movement in Australia. The new team comprises a diverse group of talented leaders from around the country, each with a unique skill set. I am confident that, together with Ginette Searle and the professional staff, the Zionist Federation of Australia will continue to grow and carry out its role as the primary representative body of the Zionist movement in Australia.”