We may be in the middle of a federal election campaign, but the political focus was firmly on state politics on Tuesday night as communal representatives joined Members of Parliament from across the political aisle to mark Yom Ha’atzmaut at a cocktail reception held at the Shangri-La Hotel.
The genuine warmth and understanding shown by both Premier Dominic Perrottet and Opposition Leader Chris Minns showed just how lucky the NSW Jewish community is to have such firm friends in our state legislature.
In keynote speeches in their first appearances as Premier and Opposition leader at that annual celebratory event, both spoke glowingly of Israel as a world leader in innovation, research and development that punches above its weight, and a beacon of democracy in the Middle East.
They also spoke about the importance of NSW–Israel trade and people-to-people ties, and heaped praise on the valuable contribution of the Jewish community to the state of NSW.
Minns made a point of vowing, “Bipartisan rejection of the BDS movement will continue under my leadership of the NSW Labor Party, and there is also bipartisan support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism.”
Perrottet said, “Our state’s strong relationship with Israel means we’ve been able to work together to be a source of strength for one another.”
Perhaps Israeli ambassador Amir Maimon put it best, saying, “The bipartisan and cross-sector support for Israel in Australia proves the enduring strengths of the Israel–Australia friendship.”
Meanwhile, solidarity for the state’s Jewish community from across the political divide was evident last week when the NSW Parliament’s inaugural Zikaron Basalon Holocaust memorial event took place, hosted by the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel. A small group of NSW MPs and senior parliamentary staff attended the event, where they heard Dutch-born Eddy Boas share his family’s remarkable story of surviving internment at Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.
While the focus may be on Canberra now, there will be a NSW state election in 2023.
It’s heartening to know that, when it becomes time to vote in that election, both the current NSW Premier, and Opposition leader, have Israel and the state’s Jewish community close to their hearts.