THE Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) will write to incoming Prime Minister Scott Morrison to wish him well in the role, after the former Treasurer defeated Peter Dutton 45-40 to take the Liberal Party Leadership, with Josh Frydenberg elected his deputy.
The ECAJ has also paid tribute to outgoing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a lifelong friend of the Jewish community, for his solidarity and friendship.
President Anton Block said the Australian Jewish community enjoys good relations with political figures across the major parties and across the different factions within those parties.
“Accordingly, we will be happy to work with the new Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, in pursuing the key issues for our community, namely obtaining federal government funding assistance towards the costs of communal security and maintaining bipartisan support for Israel,” he said.
“The ECAJ will be writing to Scott Morrison to wish him well in his new role as Australia’s head of government, and will also write to the outgoing Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to express the Jewish community’s deep appreciation to him for his service and his strong and consistent friendship to the Australian Jewish community and the State of Israel.”
Block also welcomed the election of Josh Frydenberg as deputy Liberal leader.
“This is a fantastic development, not only for the Jewish community, but also for Australia. It creates the prospect, in the fullness of time, of Australia’s first Jewish Prime Minister,” he said.
“We wish Josh every success in his new role.”
On Turnbull, Block said that as both the Federal Member for Wentworth and as Prime Minister, he “exhibited a rare warmth and familiarity” with the Australian Jewish community.
“His lifelong friendships with members of our community ensured that he felt at home at Jewish communal events where he was always warmly welcomed. He was tireless in heralding causes that matter to our community,” he said.
“In 2014, he unveiled a monument arranged by ECAJ to commemorate the massacre of Soviet Jews during the Holocaust. He was an unwavering supporter of Jewish national rights and the State of Israel. He viewed Israel as a marvel and a hub of ingenuity and progress that he hoped Australia could learn from.”
Block said the “high point” of Turnbull’s tenure from the Jewish community’s perspective was last year’s visit to Australia of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “during which Mr Turnbull struck up a genuine friendship with the Israeli leader and hardly left his side as they toured Jewish communal facilities including Moriah War Memorial College”.
He concluded, “He will be sorely missed by his many friends in the Jewish community.”