LIBERAL MP David Southwick and Labor MP Marsha Thomson, co-convenors of the Victorian Parliamentary Friends of Israel, will be jointly awarded the Jerusalem Prize at Zionism Victoria’s 78th Annual Assembly next month.
The accolade is presented annually by Zionism Victoria, the Zionist Federation of Australia and the World Zionist Organisation to an exceptional Australian who has worked consistently and tirelessly on behalf of Israel and the Jewish community.
Past recipients have included former prime ministers Julia Gillard and John Howard, former foreign minister Alexander Downer and The Australian newspaper’s foreign editor Greg Sheridan.
Southwick told The AJN that to receive the prestigious prize is “truly humbling and a great honour”.
“It’s a privilege to be the Member for Caulfield and the co-convenor of the Parliamentary Friends of Israel since being elected in 2010 and working with my colleague Marsha Thomson in building stronger bipartisan advocacy for Israel,” he said.
“Two of my highlights as a Member of Parliament so far have been educating my Parliamentary colleagues about Israel’s achievements through hosting Israel Innovation exhibitions in Parliament House with
Zionism Victoria, and launching the VISITS initiative to expand Victoria’s collaboration with Israel.”
Thomson, the member for Footscray, has been similarly instrumental in developing strong ties between Israel and Victoria.
“I feel very honoured and proud to be receiving the Jerusalem Prize,” she told The AJN.
“I grew up in a Zionist household, so advancing support for the State of Israel feels like a natural thing for me to be doing. I’m glad to be in a Parliament where there is bipartisan support for the State of Israel.”
As well as the presentation of the Jerusalem Prize, the annual assembly will see long-serving director of the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia Leonie Fleiszig farewelled in anticipation of her retirement at the end of this year.
Zionism Victoria president Sharene Hambur said the Annual Assembly offers an opportunity “to share the year that ended and look towards the year to come”.
The annual assembly will take place on Tuesday November 15 at Beth Weizmann. For more information or to book, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Jodi on (03) 9272 5544.