Over 300 people attended Zionism Victoria’s 78th Annual Assembly on 15 November. Held at Beth Weizmann Community Centre, the event brought together organisational members, supporters, politicians and friends for a truly remarkable night.
The audience enjoyed a vibrant presentation of Zionism Victoria’s major achievements of the last 12 months in the areas of educational, cultural and social activities all designed to connect the Victorian Jewish and wider community with Israel. These included flagship events, celebrations and memorials, engagement with youth, Aliyah support and Israeli advocacy in the community and political arena.
Sharene Hambur, President, Zionism Victoria, said, “In the 78 years that Zionism Victoria has existed, our primary goal of linking our community to Israel and sharing its story loudly and proudly has remained paramount.“
His Excellency Shmuel Ben-Shmuel, Ambassador of Israel in Australia, congratulated the organisation on another successful year and said, “The important work of Zionism Victoria and its partners results in creating strong ties between Australia and Israel. I believe that calling the Australian Jewish community a diaspora would be an understatement because of its profound support of Israel.”
During the assembly, the highest accolade of the worldwide Zionist movement, the highly prestigious Jerusalem Prize was awarded to David Southwick MP and the Hon Marsha Thomson MP, Co-Convenors of the Victorian Parliamentary Friends of Israel.
The awarding of the Jerusalem Prize acknowledged the work that both Marsha and David have both done in the Victorian Parliament to represent Israel and build ties between Victoria and Israel through the Parliamentary Friends of Israel. Through their contacts with their fellow parliamentarians and the educational trips that they have led to Israel in conjunction with the AIJAC Rambam Study Tours they have ensured that the support for Israel within the Victorian Parliament has been maintained and strengthened.
Marsha Thomson MP thanked Zionism Victoria, the Zionist Federation of Australia and the World Zionist Organization for the award and reminded the audience of the importance of supporting Israel:
“We are living through times of unpredictability with the rise of anti-Semitism and extremism. Today, when unfortunately, so many people affected by propaganda perceive Israel as a geological problem, it is the Parliamentary Friends of Israel’s goal to showcase Israel as a vibrant democracy.”
David Southwick MP echoed Marsha Thomson’s words and added “It is crucial that we continue to engage with the global community in showcasing Israel as the innovation and multicultural capital that it is, and have every one of us has advocate on behalf of Israel and our community to support Israel’s bright future, which is exactly what organisations like Zionism Victoria are known for.”
Jane Rapke thanked the audience and said, “I feel honoured and privileged for the opportunity to work for such an exceptional organisation and wish Zionism Victoria ongoing success in its vital role of supporting Israel. As a community, we will continue to embrace challenges and celebrate Israel’s achievements to deepen the connection between Israel and Australia.”
Zionism Victoria extends its sincere appreciation to the community for making the 78th Annual Assembly truly special.
Head to our Facebook page to view the Annual Assembly photos.