News and Events

Possible Far Right-Wing Government In Israel

"Joint List" party members at their headquarters in the northern town of Shefaram, as the results of the Israeli general elections are announced, November 1, 2022. Photo by Michael Giladi/Flash90

Hadash-Ta’al party leaders at their headquarters in the northern town of Shefaram, as the results of the Israeli general elections are announced, November 1, 2022. (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

The concern raised last week about the emergence of far-right parties in the Israeli elections sadly seems to be coming to fruition, and according to exit polling Netanyahu may also secure a thin majority. This could allow him to form Government and rely on support from the far-right Religious Zionist party which as predicted by last weeks polls seem to be heading to win about 14 or more seats.

None of this is good news for the Progressive movement and those with centrist views looking for a pluralist society with rights in relation to religious life events.

Interestingly, according to media reports, exit polls are also showing that two of the three Arab parties may win enough votes to enter the Knesset, with the third party just below the threshold for a seat. These parties, which attracted a higher voter turnout than last election, would oppose far-right legislation and extremist policies in the Knesset.

However, it should be remembered that exit polls are not always accurate. So again, we wait and see what emerges from the real count.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2022-11-02T20:07:57+11:00November 2nd, 2022|News|

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|
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