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What we were talking about this week…

Yom Ha’Aliyah – Aliyah Day 2018 

Monday 26 March marked Yom Ha’Aliyah (Aliyah Day – יום העלייה) – Israel’s newest National Holiday, which was passed by law in the Knesset in 2016. This made it the perfect day to  present Laini Shaw with a Mezuzah, a blessing for her new home in Israel and wish her hatzlacha raba as she prepares to make Aliyah!

Lanie is making Aliyah with her husband and joining the large population of Australian Olim in Israel. Over 200 Aussies made Aliyah in 2017 alone!

On Yom Ha’aliyah we celebrate Aliyah as a core value of the State, and we honour the ongoing contributions of Olim from around the world to Israeli society. Yom Ha’Aliyah falls annually on the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Nissan, which this year corresponded with Monday 26 March.

The date is, of course, symbolic and significant. The book of Joshua in the Bible recounts that Joshua and the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the Land of Israel, carrying the Ark of the Covenant on the 10th of Nissan. The is the first “mass Aliyah” on record.

Check out this short video from one of Israel’s newest Olim, Melbourne’s own Ittay Flescher.

Click on image to watch the video

In true Ittay style, he made a friend while making the video. His friend wished Australian Jews a Yom Ha’Aliyah Sameach and wished for peace between Jews and Arabs – showing us the real race of the cultural melting post that is Jerusalem.

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Israel, Australia and the UN Human Rights Council 

This week began with a big thank you to Australia (and the United States, Hungary and Togo) for voting against a draft resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council entitled “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and in the occupied Syrian Golan.” Sadly the draft resolution was adopted with 34 yes votes, 4 no votes and 8 abstentions.

Four other anti-Israel resolutions were shamefully also passed. Jerusalem Post reports that Australia, who only just joined the council as a member this year “stood with the US in opposing all the resolutions”. They also apparently spoke against UNHRC bias against Israel.

Thank you Australia for standing on the right side of the vote, even if it is a lonely place to be.

Read the Zionist Federation of Australia’s President Dr. Danny Lamm AM’s statement on the UNHRC and Australia

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Straight-talked US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley hits the mark again

US Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is the real shining light of the United Nations. She is always vocal in standing up for Israel against UN bias and last Friday was absolutely no different. Following the passing of five resolutions condemning Israel at the UN Human Rights Council she released the following statement:Today, the UN Human Rights Council adopted five resolutions condemning Israel. At the same time, the Council adopted only one resolution each against North Korea, Iran, and Syria. Every March, the Council sets aside only two sessions to debate human rights violations and abuses in all countries and another entire session just to debate a single country, Israel.

“When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Korea, Iran, and Syria, it is the Council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name. It is time for the countries who know better to demand changes. Many countries agree that the Council’s agenda is grossly biased against Israel, but too few are willing to fight it. When that happens, as it did today, the Council fails to fulfill its duty to uphold human rights around the world. The United States continues to evaluate our membership in the Human Rights Council. Our patience is not unlimited. Today’s actions make clear that the organization lacks the credibility needed to be a true advocate for human rights,” said Ambassador Haley.

Thank you for always standing so strongly by Israel’s side.

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UN Commission on the Status of Women welcomes some new members 

Earlier in the week, I learnt that on the same day, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women condemned Israel as a violator of women’s rights, they welcomed Saudi Arabia as a new member (read more).

It does not happen but I was lost for words. But subscribers to the ZFA Facebook page were not, with the post going viral.

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Australian Politicians support pro-Israel motion 

Following on from last week’s pro-Israel speech in the Australian Senate, this week during Private Members Business in the House of Representatives, a pro-Israel motion was passed. I was in Canberra with student leaders from AUJS, and we were lucky enough to have been sitting in the gallery to see the motion put forward.

Stuart Robert MP put forward the motion, which not only “warmly congratulates our sister in democracy” on 70 years of Independence, but also “states that this Parliament, as representative of all political parties and the people of Australia, issues a profound apology and says ‘sorry’ to the Jewish people for the indifference shown by the Parliament in 1938 that worsened the impact of the Holocaust”.

It was seconded with remarks by Steven Irons MP, and then Mike Kelly MP, Mark Dreyfus MP, Tim Wilson MP and Milton Dick MP all gave fantastic speeches in support of the motion ahead of Israel’s Israel’s 70th Independence Day Celebrations.

It was fantastic for me to be in Canberra and to witness this bipartisan support in Parliament – the kind of support we will never take for granted. Even ZFA President Dr. Danny Lamm AM got a mention as well as ZFA Honorary Secretary Sam Tatarka and State Zionist Council QLD President Tony Leverton!

Read the motion

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AUJS Political Training Seminar

The ZFA is incredibly proud of AUJS and the fantastic work they do on campus. Earlier in the week, they ran their Political Training Seminar which is in its 20th year. 60 participants had the opportunity to hear from speakers from all ends of the political spectrum and they were fortunate enough to meet with PM Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten MP, FM Julie Bishop MP, leader of the Greens Senator Richard Di NataleTony AbbottMP, Kelly O’DwyerMP, Senator James Paterson,Senator Simon BirminghamChris Bowen MP, Ed Husic MPClare O’Neil MPAndrew Leigh MPSenator Kimberley KitchingTim Wilson – Federal Liberal Member for GoldsteinAnne Aly MP, Senator Marise PayneAlan Tudge MPChristopher Pyne MP, Mark Dreyfus MP, Michael Danby MP, Julian Leeser MPJosh Frydenberg MP and Dr Mike Freelander MP. We also heard from the President of the Media Gallery, David Crowe, Michael Cooney from the Australian Republican Movement, and a lively debate between Simon Breheny from the Institute of Public Affairs and Simon Banks, the Managing Director of Hawker Britton.

I was lucky enough to join the group in Parliament for two days, I was so impressed with the intelligent, thoughtful, and challenging yet respectful questions that they posed to each of the politicians and guest speakers. And I could tell the politicians were extremely impressed as well. If this is the future of our community, then we have a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to from them.

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