The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) has expressed its deepest sympathies and condolences on behalf of the Australian Jewish community to the family of the late Bob Hawke, Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister, in news of his passing at age 89 on the 16th of May 2019.
President of the ZFA, Jeremy Leibler stated, “Bob Hawke was a true friend of the Jewish community, an icon, and the pinnacle symbol of leadership in this country”.
“Hawke led many important social, environmental and economic reforms and left a permanent mark on this country with his great skill, connection to people and his true authenticity. For the Jewish community, he will always be treasured and remembered with the way he genuinely cared about the plight of Soviet Jewry and the longevity and success of Israel.”
“Hawke did not have to fight for Soviet Jewry, but he chose to do so anyway, defying the advice of his own department in the process to lobby for the right for Jewish Refuseniks from the former Soviet Union to be able emigrate and live freely – a remarkable feat that millions of migrants including those who migrated to Australia to this day, are eternally grateful for.”
“It is also evident from Hawke’s overall strong record on Israel that he was genuinely invested in and cared about the security of the State of Israel.”
“In 1987, Hawke became the first ever sitting Australian Prime Minister to visit Israel. Just four year later in 1991, under Hawke’s leadership and following a campaign led by the ZFA, Australia was the first country in the world that passed a unanimous motion to rescind the infamous ‘Zionism is racism’ resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in 1975.”
“Hawke pushed a more tolerant society, proactively protecting minority communities and ensuring a better Australia that we are all ultimately grateful for and enjoy today.”
“Vale, Bob Hawke. You are a true Chaver and Mentsch and will be missed by the entire Australian Jewish community. May your memory be forever a blessing”.