Australia rallies with Israel
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Photo: Peter Haskin
Photo: Peter Haskin
Standing with Israel

Australia rallies with Israel

The Australian Jewish community united on Sunday afternoon, with rallies in Australia’s two biggest cities to show solidarity with Israel.

THE Australian Jewish community united on Sunday afternoon, with rallies in Australia’s two biggest cities to show solidarity with Israel.

State and federal politicians from both sides of politics attended the rallies.

In Melbourne, shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said, “The recent violence has caused much suffering in Israel and Gaza. Australia should continue to support Israelis and Palestinians in reaching a just and durable peace.”

He was joined by his parliamentary colleague, Labor MP Josh Burns, who told the crowd, “If those rockets were flying over Melbourne or Canberra or Sydney, the Australian Defence Force would be doing the same thing as Israel. Australia would defend its people, and Israel was defending its people … Israel is a leader, it is a friend, and we gather here today standing with Israel.”

They shared the stage with state Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien, who said, “Israel has not only a right but a responsibility to defend itself and her people. We wish for long lasting peace in the Middle East and an end to the violence. Lasting peace will only be possible with the acceptance of Israel’s right to exist within secure borders.”

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino wasn’t able to attend, but sent a message, which was read to the crowd.

The Sydney rally, meanwhile, was attended by federal Liberal MP Dave Sharma and state member for Coogee Marjorie O’Neill.

Noting the gathering was attended by a number of interfaith leaders, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark said, “NSW is a diverse and inclusive multicultural state and today we share the Jewish community’s message of peace for all – Israelis, Palestinians; both overseas and locally.”

Zionist Federation of Australia president Jeremy Leibler added, “The Australian Jewish community with support from representatives of the government and opposition came together.

“We came from the left and right, from religious and secular backgrounds – to declare one simple message: Israel has a right to live in peace and a right to defend itself when attacked.”

Full coverage in this week’s AJN, out Thursday.

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