Melbourne has been chosen as one of 14 consultation centres around the world in the initial consultation stage of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s Voice of the People initiative.
Herzog announced the plan for a global consultation with world Jewry and the landmark establishment of a worldwide Jewish advisory council under the Office of the President during his speech on Sunday, April 23 to representatives of the Jewish Federations of North America, who were in Tel Aviv prior to Israel’s 75th Independence Day.
The President has brought on board the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) as key partners.
The advisory council will advise the President on the core challenges of the Jewish people. It will be tasked with taking concrete action to advance collaborative projects and foster future leadership across the Jewish world, giving young Jews a voice and a platform for influencing the future of the Jewish people. Its members will represent all parts of world Jewry.
The initiative “will be a timely and important vehicle for dialogue and collaboration, not just between Israelis and the Diaspora but also between diverse communities across the Diaspora”, Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) president Jeremy Leibler said this week.
“We welcome the initiative’s partnership with the WZO and JAFI, and the President’s decision to hold over a dozen consultations around the world, including in Australia,” Leibler said.
“This isn’t a public relations exercise, but real dialogue. We look forward to … engaging fully in the process.”
ZFA CEO Ginette Searle added, “We are excited to have the opportunity to ensure that diverse perspectives from across the Australian Jewish community are included in this important global dialogue.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said the Australian community was ready to play its part.
“In these times, President Herzog is the global leader our people need,” he said.
“His efforts to reimagine the relationship between the Jewish State and the Jewish Diaspora come from a place of knowledge and devotion, and I am sure the President will succeed in this vital undertaking.”
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council also threw its support behind the “sensible and well-timed” initiative.
“Australian Jewry can bring a unique perspective to this effort by the Israeli President Isaac Herzog to foster open and direct dialogue,” AIJAC national chairman Mark Leibler and executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein said.
“At the end of the day, this is about supporting the State of Israel – and AIJAC is excited about engaging in a constructive manner.”