Photo courtesy of Will Nemesh, Liberal Friends of Israel.
Dear Minister Pyne,
The Zionist Federation of Australia would like to express its deep gratitude and appreciation to you on the occasion of your retirement from Parliament, after 26 years of distinguished service.
Although during this time you have held a wide variety of portfolios, the one constant has been your staunch, unwavering support of Israel, the Australian Jewish community and the special bond between our two nations, including for many years as Chairman of the Australia – Israel Parliamentary Group.
As a Minister of Education, you were unequivocal in your condemnation of antisemitism and BDS.
As Minister of Innovation, you forged closer ties between Israel and Australia in all spheres of technology and innovation, including establishing the revolutionary ‘Launching Pads’ in Tel Aviv, one of only five such Australian locations across the world.
Most recently as Defence Minister and during your last visit to Israel in July 2018, you established a new, high-level working group to strengthen defence ties, cooperation and industry innovation between Israel and Australia.
We will always recall, and deeply appreciate, that although you did not have to, you led a bipartisan delegation of Australian parliamentarians to Israel in August 2014, at the height of the war between Israel and Hamas, to reaffirm Australia’s support for the Jewish state’s right to self-defence.
During that trip, you noted that “Israel is the beacon of freedom and liberty in the Middle East”, reiterating that Australia and Israel are “two sister countries with the same value system”.
Minister, you were a rare and principled leader who understood and appreciated the deep bonds that bind our two nations. The State of Israel and the Australian Jewish community could not have asked for a better friend and champion of this special alliance.
Jeremy Leibler Ginette Searle
PRESIDENT CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER