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Press Release – 10 October 2011

ZCV Annual Assembly emphasizes community’s close ties with MPs both locally and across the border

The Zionist Council of Victoria’s Annual Assembly traditionally reviews the year of Zionist activity in our community and looks towards setting priorities for the future. This year’s 73rd Assembly will take place on Monday October 24, 8pm at the Beth Weizmann Community Centre.

The ZCV is pleased to announce that keynote speaker for the Assembly is long-standing supporter of Israel, Dr Mike Kelly MP, federal member for Eden-Monaro in NSW since 2007 and currently the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. 

In his maiden speech to Parliament on February 13, 2008, Dr Kelly spoke of a positive relationship between Australia and Israel, highlighting the need for strong environmental ties with Israel: “I do believe the future of this country will largely be shaped by our response to the challenges posed by two liquids: water and oil. We cannot grow and will find it difficult to sustain our current lifestyle if we do not come up with a major national effort on our water resource management. We must give thought to whether we are selecting the appropriate land usage in tune with our various regions. We should reach out more vigorously to countries like Israel to collaborate on the development of water management and agricultural technology”.

In that first speech too, Dr Kelly revealed his long-standing personal family connection to the Middle East region with his grandfather, Benjamin Joseph Kelly, volunteering and fighting in the Light Horse brigade in World War II, as part of the 2nd/3rd Machine Gun Battalion.

Dr Kelly proudly continued the Kelly family history of service to the Australian Defence Forces from 1987 to 2007. In those 2 decades he had extensive military experience including deployments in Somalia (for which he was awarded the Chief of the General Staff Commendation and made a Member of the Order of Australia); with the International Red Cross in Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia; Kenya; East Timor; working with the SAS in the lead–up to the Sydney Olympics; and in Iraq. He concluded his military career as Director of Operations and International Law and Director of Army Legal Services.

This year’s ZCV Assembly will see the presentation of the prestigious Jerusalem Prize to Michael Danby MP, member for Melbourne Ports and tireless and outspoken supporter of the Jewish and Zionist communities in Victoria and throughout Australia. The Jerusalem Prize is the highest accolade given by the ZCV, in conjunction with the Zionist Federation of Australia and the World Zionist Organisation.

Each year the WZO’s Department for Zionist Activities presents the award to an outstanding individual in the Jewish community or the general community who supports Israel, Jerusalem and the Zionist Movement. Past Australian recipients have included former Prime Minister John Howard, former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and The Australian newspaper’s Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan.

ZCV president Sam Tatarka said, “Over the past 73 years, the Zionist Council of Victoria has represented our community on Israel and Zionist issues. We have led Victorian Jewry in their communal connection with Israel, through major events, cultural activities and educational programs. The organisation is strong and vibrant, and our community is internationally regarded as one of the most committed to Israel in the world”.

“This year, we are thrilled to have the involvement of 2 members of the current government who are outstanding supporters of Israel” he said.

“Michael Danby’s achievements in Parliament on the state and federal levels are widely recognised and highly commended. Time and again, Michael Danby stands up and speaks out for Israel, whether it is organising positive public support from Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and others for Max Brenner Chocolates in the face of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protests aimed at Israel or lobbying the government to provide additional funding to ensure security of our Jewish day schools. Michael embraces the challenging issues our community faces and for this he is a most deserving candidate of the esteemed Jerusalem Prize” Tatarka said.

“Likewise we welcome Dr Mike Kelly to Melbourne for an anticipated keynote address. Dr Kelly’s commitment to Israel has been well documented since elected to parliament and he has visited Israel several times, most recently last year. We look forward to Dr Kelly sharing the experiences he had in Israel and his thoughts on the region with us.”

More than 250 people are expected to attend the Assembly on October 24 including representatives of the ZCV’s 52 affiliate organizations, local and state parliamentarians and key supporters of the ZCV.

The community is invited to the ZCV’s 73rd Annual Assembly to hear from keynote speaker The Hon Dr Mike Kelly AM, MP and pay tribute to Jerusalem Prize recipient Michael Danby MP. 
Monday October 24, 8.00 pm (sharp) at Beth Weizmann Community Centre – 306 Hawthorn Road Caulfield South. 
The ZCV’s Annual Report will be available in printed copy at the Assembly and online at

For more information contact:
Jane Rapke – Executive Director, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5544
Elly Shalev – Director Public Affairs, Zionist Council of Victoria 9272 5519
The Zionist Council of Victoria leads and encourages Jewish and Zionist activity and expression within Victoria, to represent the Jewish community, to promote and communicate Israel’s interests within the broader Victorian community and to promote Victoria’s relationship with Israel. For more information, visit the Zionist Council of Victoria website