The Zionist Federation of Australia’s president, Jeremy Leibler, CEO, Ginette Searle and Israel Office Director Moriah Ben David held a warm and constructive meeting with Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Dr Nachman Shai.
The Minister is well known to the Australian Jewish community through his various roles as a journalist, a respected politician and, going back to the 1990’s, as the spokesman for the Israeli Government during the Gulf War in 1991.
The Minister recognised the reputation of the Australian Jewish community as passionately Zionist with high levels of engagement in Jewish life.
Reflecting on the diverse makeup of the new government, Dr Shai noted that his government is committed to representing all Israelis and healing rifts with Diaspora Jewry. With the historic coalition including the Arab Israeli party Raam, he noted that there is optimism that Israel will do better for the Israeli Arab sector, which comprises 20% of the population.
ZFA President, Jeremy Leibler told Minister Shai that “the former Government’s failure to deliver on its promise to establish a meaningful egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel has caused significant frustration and disappointment within the Australian Jewish community and expressed hope that the new Government will seek to address this issue as a matter of urgency”.
ZFA CEO, Ginette Searle said: “The Minister was keen to hear of our particular current challenge, to foster a sustained connection to Israel whilst being unable to visit. This is core to us as it is for the Minister and we look forward to collaborating with him and his department in the future to strengthen the bonds at various levels”.
Minister Shai will address a meeting of the Executive of the ZFA on 27 July 2021 and participate in a substantive discussion on the Israel Diaspora relationship.