In an exceptional Solidarity Gathering at the Perth Synagogue, a crowd of between 800 and 1,000 people turned out to show their support for Israel’s right to live in security, free from Terrorist Threats.Â
Which only begs the question, where were the other 90% of Perth Jews?
The program was well balanced, dignified and very well presented.Â Jointly hosted by the Jewish Community Council and the State Zionist Council, the program included prayers, expressions of solidarity from political leaders, and representation from the Israeli Embassy in Canberra.
There is no doubt that the AIJAC programs that provide Australian political leaders with the opportunity to visit Israel and experience first hand the predicatment faced by Israel, are vital and successful initiatives.Â There were three politicians this evening who were able to talk first hand about Israel’s existential threat, and the populations right of security.Â They were informed and they were stirring in their remarks.Â
Senator Glenn Sterle in particular spoke of the education programs that Itimar Marcus of PMW Â had shown them, and how young children are being brought up with images and messages of hate.
Michael Keenan, MP for Stirling, spoke of the terrorist ambitions of Hamas, emphasising the Australian Governments recognition of Hamas as a terrorist organisation.Â For some reason he limited this definition to their “military wing”, whatever that is (and hopefully with no implication that a political or social wing of Hamas has any legitimacy in the eyes of the Australian Government).Â This aside, Mr Keenan was eloquent with his remarks and clearly understanding of the terrorist threat to Israel.
MLA and Deputy Speaker of the WA Parliament Michael Sutherland reiterated the sentiments of his Parliamentary colleagues.Â He commented that Australians, as a people, would never allow Israel to stand alone.
Eli Yerushalmi, representing the Government of Israel, spoke of the accomplishments of the military incursion, and reiterated the aims and objectives.Â He said that “Palestinian people are not our enemy”,Â and also talked aboutÂ the intention of the Israel Government to rebuild peace seeking initiatives with Palestinian partners other than Hamas.Â He also noted that Israeli’s have not been as united as they are today since the Six Day War, in their national understanding of what has occured over the past three weeks, and its unfortunate necessity.Â
I was inspired by tonights program.Â The organisation was exceptional, the program (inclusive of the speeches) was not over the top, andÂ (my earlier cynacism aside) the evening wasÂ well supported.Â
Our community does not get the opportunity toÂ hear public addresses from local political leaders often enough.Â Sadly, it is only times of crisis and the occasional election campaign that provides their public audiences.Â Maybe it is worth considering further events of this nature, not necessarily focussed on Israeli solidarity alone.
In the meantime, congratulations to those involved in organising a very important cross-communal event.