2 January 2022
HE Naftali Bennett
Prime Minister of Israel
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing on behalf of the Australian Jewish community in relation to the current restrictions imposed by your Government on Diaspora Jewry’s ability to enter Israel.
The Australian Jewish community recognises and accepts that the Israeli Government must take any steps it deems necessary to protect the health and wellbeing of its citizens. However, I am deeply concerned about the impact that these restrictions are having and will continue to have on our community and its connection with the State of Israel.
As you know from your successful visit to Australia and the close relationships you have with many of us in the Jewish community, we are a proud Zionist community where Israel is very much at the centre of Jewish life. For many decades, aliyah has been and remains the ultimate expression of Zionism for Australian Jewry. As a result, most of us have close family members, including parents, children and grandchildren who are living in Israel – some of whom are serving in the IDF as lone soldiers or have recently completed their military service.
I am fully aware that you understand the importance of the Israel–Diaspora relationship more than most Israelis. In a discussion we had last year, you rightly described yourself as not just the Prime Minister of Israel but of all the Jewish people. Before you were Prime Minister, you called for Diaspora Jewry to have a more meaningful involvement and say in the decisions of the Israeli Government.
Prime Minister, on behalf of the Australian Jewish community, I urge you to find a solution that appropriately protects the health and wellbeing of Israeli citizens but allows Diaspora Jewry to visit Israel under whatever necessary safeguards or conditions are required. Israel has been a leader in fighting Covid- 19 and protecting its citizens. I am certain it can continue to do so while ensuring that the bond between Israel and the Diaspora remains strong.
Zionist Federation of Australia