Monthly Archives: October 2022

Elections And The Zionist Dream

President Isaac Herzog addresses an event marking the 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, on August 29, 2022. (Haim Zach/GPO)

President Isaac Herzog addresses an event marking the 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, on August 29, 2022. (Haim Zach/GPO)

As November 1, the Israeli election day draws closer, most people remain unsure about the possible outcome.

The AJN reported that the two major political blocs remain in gridlock, with Netanyahu and his supporting parties falling short of a majority of the 120 seats and the current PM Yair Lapid also failing to find his way to a majority. The Jewish News also highlighted the rise of the far-right party, which calls itself Religious Zionism and which will likely take votes from Likud as well as attracting those who previously voted for Naftali Bennet’s Yamina party.

Historically, the party of religious Zionists (then called the Mafdal, the National Religious Party) drew upon Jewish teachings and advocated human rights and social care for all. That is not where the Religious Zionism leader, Smotrich is coming from.

He foreshadows changes to the Justice system which would dramatically hobble the power of the High Court. Why? Because in recent years the High Court has brought down decisions strongly supported by more progressive and centrist Israelis.

If the Religious Zionism party wins many seats, Netanyahu may try to form a Coalition with them to form government. Then it would remain to be seen if the price is the dramatic reform of the Israeli Justice system.

Ultimately, the outcome could surprise everyone, as it did last time. No one predicted the emergence of the Coalition which formed the last government. This electoral race seems just as tight.

I close by quoting the President of Israel Isaac Herzog, who at the event celebrating the 125th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress recently held in Basel said, “Zionists – people who believe in the right and necessity of Jewish self-determination in the biblical land of Israel – must work to take back the word to be “an expression of our own national identity, traditions, hopes, pride, enlightened value, justice and commitment to Tikkun Olam”.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2022-10-26T13:34:39+11:00October 26th, 2022|News|

Albanese Government Betrays Israel And The Jewish Community

Penny Wong, Jerusalem, Yair Lapid (Photo: AP, Shutterstock, AFP)

Penny Wong, Jerusalem, Yair Lapid (Photo: AP, Shutterstock, AFP)

The Progressive Jewish community is astonished at the Albanese Government’s announced withdrawal of Australia’s recognition of West Jerusalem, as the capital of Israel.

Not only is this decision bad policy, it’s bad in international law and a betrayal of the Australian Jewish community.

Not a word of this was mentioned during the recent Federal election, as the ALP pandered to the Jewish community for electoral support. Had they been honest about their intention Josh Burns would have lost the seat of Macnamara. He came perilously close to losing to the Greens anyway.

Disappointingly, the decision was announced on the Jewish holyday of Simchat Torah, when the Jewish community celebrates the receiving of Torah, the commandments of which guide the principles by which the free world lives today.

There is certainly no demonstrable benefit to Australia. On the contrary, why insult the one democracy in the Middle East, which is also an ally and helps protect Australians through a program of intelligence sharing?

One would also have to ask, what was the process of consultation that Mr Albanese promised the Jewish community before the election? Clearly there was none, as this announcement took the community completely by surprise and was announced when many were praying in synagogues and unable to publicly respond.

It is to be hoped that community outrage will make Mr Albanese think again.

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice-President

David Knoll AM and Brian Samuel OAM
UPJ Co-Presidents

2022-10-20T12:18:44+11:00October 20th, 2022|News|

It Takes Two To Tango

Yair Lapid UN Speech

Israeli PM Lapid backs two-state solution with Palestinians | Reuters (Creator: MIKE SEGAR | Credit: REUTERS)

On September 22, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid gave a seminal speech to the United Nations. His speech brought strong messages to Jews in Israel and the Diaspora and a story of hope to the Progressive Jewish community worldwide.

The most impressive statement from Lapid was his commitment to a Two State solution. A story of peace. We know that few Jewish organisations will publicly oppose this policy but do doubt its possibility because of the determination by current terrorist organisations particularly in Gaza and Iran, who still seek the destruction of the Jewish State.

Lapid painted the picture of the Theodore Herzl inspired Jewish State in 1947 after the devastation of the Holocaust, and then the amazing growth and development of Zionist Eretz Israel. The start-up nation, extraordinary inventions in medicine, military protection and agricultural methodology which have benefited the rest of the world, including Australia. He was open about the military strength of Israel and its capacity to defend itself and deter those who continue to attack its people and children.

He said to the people of Gaza in so many words, “You want freedom of movement into Israel. Stop the rockets you rain down on our children and give us the right to exist in secure and safe borders and you will have your freedom of movement”. I do not recall the previous Likud Prime Minister making such a promise.

Lapid described the withdrawal from Gaza by Israel, and the opportunity it gave the Gazan population to build a new economy and grow as a people. He told us how that opportunity was squandered. But now he said, if Gaza and the West Bank stop the violence and support the existence and security of the Jewish State, it in turn can help the Palestinians create a growing and thriving economy and a separate State.

This I believe is music to our Progressive ears. But is it a possibility?

The desire expressed by the terrorist Palestinian leadership and the leadership of Iran to destroy the State of Israel has been their rhetoric for many years. Iran seems determined to build nuclear weapons. One has to say what for? Yair Lapid has no doubt, what for. He made it more than clear that Israel, under his leadership will never allow Iran to have nuclear weapons.

Yair Lapid went on to describe the continuing and growing level of antisemitism, particularly in social media and supported by fake, untrue stories, promoted by terrorist supporting groups and countries. He asked the question of the United Nations “why do you listen to such lies”? A legitimate question and one we, supporters of Israel should also be asking, instead of cowering and not really knowing what to say.

This last week the Australian Federal Government considerably increased funding to the Palestinian program by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

This, after past revelations of rampant corruption at the highest levels as claimed by the Zionist Federation of Australia and other countries such as the United States, Switzerland and the Netherlands who started cutting their funding to this program back in 2018.

Graphic news items on Australian television this week showed Palestinian children showing off their guns and talking about killing Jews. It was claimed in the same program that textbooks used in UNRWA Palestinian schools incite violence against Israelis and glorify Jihad.

As Jeremy Leibler said “It is tragic as it is ironic that as the organisation charged with solving the issue of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA has played a major role in perpetuating the problem. It is of note that the previous Australian Federal Government halved its funding to this program in 2020/21 but did not reduce funding to any other global humanitarian program at that time.

Finally, it is believed by major Australian Jewish organisations that the UNRWA policies and activities do not contribute to a peaceful two state solution, particularly by supporting a Palestinian Right of Return of all 5.5 million so called Palestinian refugees to Israel, many from countries far away from Israel, Gaza or the West Bank. Right of return would mean that Israel as a Jewish State would cease to exist.

Perhaps Australia and other donor nations to the UNRWA will rethink their generosity.

So, Yair Lapid has given us hope for a peaceful Two State solution.
But as Aussies often say IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2022-10-07T10:05:47+11:00October 7th, 2022|News|
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