Missed a newsletter? Click here for archive
Twitter Facebook Forward
Zionist Federation of Australian News


ZFA Biennial
180 delegates, including large contingents of young adults from the Australian Zionist Youth Council and AUJS, gathered in Melbourne on Sunday 30 March for the ZFA’s Biennial Conference.

With keynote addresses from the Hon Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition, Yariv Levin MK and of course our very special guest, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky, the audience was treated to an engaging and informative program.

Mr Shorten opened with “I have long been a supporter of Israel”. He praised Israel – “I was curious, how can a country with a population of less than 8 million support a thriving venture capital industry that produces more successful start-ups than much larger economies like Japan and Korea? The answer was simple. Israel embraces science and isn’t afraid of failure…it is an inspiring story that shows Israel is determined to let every citizen fulfil their potential.”

He reiterated the Australian Labor Party’s strong support of Israel: “The Labor party will always be proud of the role it played in the birth of Israel. We continue to have mutual security interests in the safety of our people against international terrorism and governments that support them…Labor’s belief in the right of Israeli people to live within secure and recognised state boundaries has never wavered. We also have great hopes for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. The best way to achieve this just peace is a two-state solution.”

Shorten clearly articulated what he believes is required to achieve peace in the State. “…When there is a peace treaty, with defined borders…So the real answer to the settlements is to reach a settlement. And the sooner that is done – the better.”

Shorten addressed local issues – “I also want to register my profound opposition to those promoting an anti-Israel boycott. I reject it. It has no place in our universities and it has no place in the commercial marketplace.”

Shorten used this forum to clarify Labor’s view on the Government’s proposal to repeal Sections of the Racial Discrimination Act. He said – “I believe this is a colossal mistake – and a dangerous one….I am strongly opposed to the idea of watering-down the hate speech protections in Section 18C… There is no place for bigotry, no place for racism, no place for hate speech in the modern Australia.”
All members at the conference went on to unanimously pass the resolution against the repeal of S18C.

Yariv Levin MK also spoke about the need for peace in Israel - “Yes, we do want peace and we do need peace and we are [making] every effort to achieve this.” Levin spoke about the BDS movement that has affected campuses and nations around the world - “We must stand firmly against this phenomenon (of BDS) it’s not only our problem it must be a struggle of all democracies.”

Natan Sharansky reflected on the major challenges facing Jews in Israel and in the diaspora: assimilation and delegitimisation of the Jewish state. According to Sharansky, a major battle exists on university campuses where many Jewish students choose to disconnect, remarking: “We have to strengthen our identity - to our people, our history, our community and to the State of Israel."

Sharansky was generous in his praise of the Australian Jewish community and the Zionist movement:  “…there is no place where youth movements are so successful,” he said, following with “There is something very special about the Australian Zionist Community, Thank you.”

A panel moderated by Philip Chester and including Amanda Goodman (JCA) Roy Steinman (Leibler Yavneh College) Anton Block (St Kilda Hebrew Congregation) and Jeremy Leibler (ZFA) discussed issues affecting Jewish continuity and identity. The panel covered issues of Jewish education, the importance of youth movements and engaging the young adult demographic and with students outside the Jewish day schools as priority areas.

The conference paid tribute to Philip Chester, retiring after eight years as ZFA President. Video messages from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein and many others were a highlight for the audience and for Philip.

Dr. Danny Lamm has been elected unopposed to the position of President of the Zionist Federation of Australia. Danny has had a long and auspicious involvement in the Jewish community and Zionism for several decades – “I am delighted to accept the call by the Federation to assume its Presidency. I have been involved in the Zionist Movement lifelong and am committed to the support of the State of Israel and see my new role as being the best way I can make that contribution.”

Top news from Israel

ZFA Israel Programs

Hagshama Australia


ZFA Israel Advocacy Updates

  • 24 March: Writing the story of peace
  • 14 March: Forwards and Backwards
  • 7 March: AIPAC 2014: Obama vs Netanyahu Face-Off
  • 27 February: The best answer to Israel Apartheid week? IDF Diversity week
  • 20 February: NYT Article; Conflict of faith or conflict of interest
  • 12 February: 'The 4 Corners saga; an update of where we're at...'
  • 10 February: The Weekend Australian/4 Corners one-sided campaign; What can YOU DO?
  • 6 February: The fine line between constructive and contemptible
ZFA Facebook ZFA Twitter ZFA Youtube


Farewell to Philip Chester

Have a look at the amazing messages of farewell to Immediate Past President Philip Chester - Incredible!


Biennial Photo Album

ZFA Biennial 2014

Click on the photo to view the whole album

The Hon Bill Shorten MP Speech at ZFA Biennial 2014

The Hon Bill Shorten MP addressed over 180 people at the ZFA Biennial. 

We were honoured that the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Bill Shorten, MP addressed the ZFA Biennial Conference. His speech is reproduced below. It generated almost immediate media interest with an article going on line in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald on the same day, a follow up on Monday and continuing media through the week.

Read what he had to say:-


It’s great to be here today. I’ve long been a supporter of Israel – and an admirer of its success and its many accomplishments.

In 2012 I led a Ministerial delegation to Israel. I was keen to learn how it has made high-tech exports and entrepreneurialism its point of competitive advantage.

I was curious, how can a country with a population of less than 8 million can support a thriving venture capital industry that produces more successful start-ups than much larger economies like Japan and Korea? The answer was simple. Israel embraces science - and isn’t afraid of failure. Israel’s commitment to innovation - and commercialising that innovation - is hard-wired into key institutions.
There is a Chief Scientist in every Government Department, and a defence industry that drives innovation for industrial use. Above all, there is a tolerance for risk and failure, because investors realise that it’s often an entrepreneur’s second or third business that will be their most successful. It’s an inspiring story that shows Israel is determined to let every citizen fulfil their potential. It’s an example that Australia can draw a lot from – and I think there is much more we can do in the way of innovation partnerships with our good friends in Israel.

Today is an important chance for me to lay out the principles that inform Labor’s view of the Middle East. The Labor Party will always be proud of the role it played in the birth of modern Israel. We continue to have mutual security interests in the safety of our people against international terrorism and governments that support them, and I am proud of the elevated levels of defence cooperation that were reached during our Government. This included significant procurement of Israeli equipment in the areas of Battlefield Management Systems, UAVs, helmets, combat bandages, Typhoon weapons stations and other systems on our vessels, and the joint Thales and Plasan Protected Mobility Vehicle project. We also cooperate closely on methods of dealing with those insidious and indiscriminate Improvised Explosive Devices that have maimed and killed so many in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Labor’s belief in the right of the Israeli people to live within secure and recognised state boundaries has never wavered. We also have great hopes for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. 

Read more here...

Natan Sharansky visits Australia

Natan Sharansky in Sydney

Click on the photo to view the whole album

Natan Sharansky in Melbourne

Click on the photo to view the whole album


Israel Programs

 Applications for KangaRusski close soon!

KangaRusski - July 17-27
Suitable for young adults aged 18-26 from Russian-speaking backgrounds.There is still time to apply for the KangaRusski Birthright program which is running from July 17-27.
If you are Jewish, aged between 18-26, come from a Russian background (although you do not have to be a Russian speaker to go on the program!) and you have not been to Israel before on a peer-group educational program, then apply online today!
Applications close March 21st. Don't miss out on this extraordinary experience - a FREE 10-day trip to Israel!

For more information contact Sasha on 0434 039 059 or email AlexandraK@jafi.org

For information on eligibility, terms and conditions and to apply for the program please visit http://www.israelprograms.com.au/program/taglit-birthright-israel/ 
This year ZFA Israel Programs will be hosting two massive Israel Programs fairs in Melbourne and Sydney. A wide variety of short and long-term Israel programs for young adults aged 18-30 will be showcased with representatives from programs on hand to ask questions. There will also be some fantastic raffle prizes on offer too! 
Melbourne - Sunday May 25th, 11am - 1pm Beth Weizmann Community Centre, 306 Hawthorn Rd, Caulfield South
Sydney Sunday June 1st, 11am - 1pm, Shalom Institute, Shalom College, UNSW, Barker Rd, Kensington
For more information, please contact Tanya Strusberg on (03) 9272 5584 or email tstrusberg@zfa.com.au 

ZFA in the News

If you haven't yet caught up on the latest Israel advocacy alerts, click here
Your feedback and comments are very welcome

ZFA in the News


4 April - Australian Jewish News, ZFA Conference, watch on AJN homepage Pg 2 
4 April - Australian Jewish News, Standing ovations for Sharansky Pg 3
4 April - Australian Jewish News, ZFA elects new head, slams 18C proposals & Sharansky lauds community's energy Pg 8
4 April - Australian Jewish News, Shorten on Iran, settlements and 18C Pg 8
4 April - Australian Jewish News, Shalom Sharansky Pg 22
4 April - Australian Jewish News, Biennial conference video 
3 April - J-wire, ZFA Biennial Conference
3 April - The Sydney Morning Herald, Bill Shorten's comments on Israeli Settlements a mistake, say colleagues 
3 April - The Age, Bill Shorten's comments on Israeli Settlements a mistake, say colleagues
31 March - Haaretz, Australian Jews may cut donations to ruling party over race law change
31 March - The Age, Indigenous leader Tom Calma pans race-hate changes
31 March - The Sydney Morning Herald, George Brandis' race hate law changes condemned by respected indigenous leader
30 March - Ad Hoc News (Germany) Labor leader calls on influential group
30 March - The Australian, Keep it nice, Bill Shorten tells critics of change
30 March - The Guardian, Jewish community must speak out on race act changes, says Shorten
30 March - The Sydney Morning Herald, Changes to racial vilification laws: a 'colossal mistake:' Shorten
30 March - The Age, Changes to racial vilification laws: a 'colossal mistake:' Shorten
28 March - J-wire, Sharanksy and Weiser in conversation
28 March - J-wire, Sharansky lauches AUJS campaign
28 March - Australian Jewish News Banner, Curtain call for ZFA's Philip Chester
28 March - Australian Jewish News, Chester calls it a day Pg 4 
28 March - Australian Jewish News, My Zionist story Pg 24 
28 March - Australian Jewish News, Young Russians hop to the Holy Land Pg 10 Melbourne
27 March - News and Views from Jews Down Under, Jewish Agency Chairman launches campaign with AUJS
26 March - The Shalom Institute, You Tube Natan Sharansky
22 March - The Australian, DON'T LOSE SIGHT OF RIGHTS
21 March - Australian Jewish News Banner, One on one with Sharansky Pg 9
21 March -  Australian Jewish News, In Conversation with Natan Sharansky Ad Sydney
21 March - Australian Jewish News, Sharansky: Australia is part of my family
21 March - Australian Jewish News, What's On Sydney

For the full list, visit ZFA in the News on our website.

Visit the ZFA Website