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Press Release – 8 October 2007

State Zionist Council of Victoria Annual General Assembly to feature Dr Brendan Nelson, Defence Minister as keynote speaker

More than 250 delegates, VIPs and guests will fill the Beth Weizmann auditorium on Thursday November 1st for the State Zionist Council of Victoria’s (SZCV) 69th Annual Assembly.

The keynote speaker at this year’s Assembly will be Dr Brendan Nelson, Defence Minister and a staunch supporter of Israel. President of the State Zionist Council Dr Danny Lamm commented on continuing government support of major events on the Jewish communal calendar. “We are very proud that Dr Nelson will be addressing our Annual Assembly, particularly at this busy and significant time in Australian federal politics. It demonstrates the community’s long-standing relationship with the highest level of government.”

Brendan Nelson has served as the Minister for Defence since January 2006. For more than five years prior to that, he was Minister for Education, Science and Training and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence from December 2000 until his elevation to Cabinet in November 2001.

Dr Nelson’s support of Israel far precedes his position as Defence Minister. As Minister for Education, Science and Training, he established a ground-breaking initiative between the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Australia-Israel Scientific Exchange Foundation (AISEF). The program has been in operation since August 2003, with the Australia-Israel Fellowships promoting scientific exchange with Israel through reciprocal exchange at the postdoctoral, research or senior research fellow level.

The State Zionist Council’s Annual Assembly will formally wrap up what has been an extremely eventful year for the roof body. With a mandate to represent more than 50 Victorian Zionist organizations, the SZCV leads the Zionist community in issues relating to Israel and Judaism. In 2007 “special” events included a full-day Strategic Planning seminar to discuss issues facing local Zionism; overseeing rallies of more than 500 people in Melbourne’s city centre, sadly, for the second time, in a year to bring attention to the plight of Israel’s abducted soldiers Udi Goldwasser, Eldad Regev and Gilad Shalit; and coordinating and producing the community’s events for Israel’s 59th Yom Ha’atzmaut and the Yom Hazikaron Commemoration for Israel’s Fallen soldiers and Victims of Terror. Add to that ongoing activities such as, Israel Advocacy; the Public Speakers Service which this year saw a record number of attendees; Hebrew Ulpan classes and 15 public forums. All events and activities serve to advance the State Zionist Council’s unwavering agenda – communicating Israel’s interests and her pertinent issues.

For more information contact:
SZCV President Dr Danny Lamm 0408-408-929
SZCV Executive Director, Ginette Searle 9272-5544