Randwick Council ‘stands firm’ despite protests

An attempt to trigger an "urgent" motion to rescind the resolution to fly the Israeli flag on Yom Ha'atzmaut was shot down by Randwick Council.

Protesters gathered outside Randwick Town Hall to oppose Randwick Council's resolution to fly the Israeli flag on Yom Ha'atzmaut.
Protesters gathered outside Randwick Town Hall to oppose Randwick Council's resolution to fly the Israeli flag on Yom Ha'atzmaut.

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) has congratulated Randwick City Council for “standing firm” on flying the Israeli flag on Yom Ha’atzmaut, despite facing backlash.

Last month Liberal councillor Daniel Rosenfeld successfully introduced a motion to fly the flag at Randwick Town Hall on April 26 to celebrate Israel’s 75th anniversary of independence.

But during Tuesday night’s council meeting a Greens councillor attempted to trigger an “urgent” motion to rescind the resolution, which was shot down.

Rosenfeld told The AJN that when a councillor raises an urgent motion, “the council has to vote on whether it is indeed urgent before the motion is allowed to be debated and voted on”.

“I am pleased to report that council voted nine to six that it was not urgent,” Rosenfeld said.

“Those voting that it was not urgent, apart from myself, included all my fellow Liberal councillors, as well as three Labor councillors and the one independent we have on council.”

A group of protesters had gathered outside the Town Hall and when the vote was taken, those who attended the meeting in the public gallery began shouting “shame”.

They left soon after the vote.

AIJAC has written to Randwick mayor Councillor Dylan Parker to express its appreciation.

“It will be a significant expression of support to see the Israeli flag flying atop Randwick Town Hall,” said AIJAC chairman Mark Leibler and executive director Colin Rubenstein.

They acknowledged that Parker was “key in ensuring that the original resolution remained in place” and expressed appreciation to Rosenfeld, who originally proposed the motion, and Cr Noel D’Souza, who seconded it.

“Once again, we are pleased that you and your council acknowledged the significance to the Jewish community of the occasion on April 26.”

Rosenfeld said he initially introduced the motion to fly the flag given the prominent Jewish community in the Randwick LGA.

“The council has resolved to fly the Greek flag for Greek Independence Day, which I fully support, and I thought it fitting to also fly the Israeli flag. This was supported 10 to four and hence became a council resolution.”

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark commended Randwick Council on its decision, noting Israel’s 75th Independence Day is a “historic occasion for the NSW Jewish community”.

“NSW and Israel share a warm, long-lasting relationship based on common values,” Bark said.

“The flying of the Israeli flag reinforces that no matter our background, our faith or the language we speak, everyone is welcome and has a place to call home in our cohesive, multicultural state.”

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