FOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop will be presented with the Hebrew University’s Torch of Learning Award at the Australian Friends of the Hebrew University’s gala dinner later this month.
It comes after Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) president Dr Danny Lamm, vice-president Sam Tatarka and public affairs director Ted Lapkin met for an hour earlier this week with Bishop at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices in Melbourne.
During that meeting Lamm conveyed the high regard in which Israel’s government holds Bishop, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his predecessor Tony Abbott.
He also thanked the government, on behalf of Israel, for voting against a one-sided, Palestinian-authored resolution at the United Nations (UN) calling for Israel’s unconditional withdrawal from the West Bank.
Bishop’s support for Israel at the UN is also partly what earned her the Hebrew University award, the university’s most prestigious honour presented by its friends organisations around the world. It will be presented by Professor Shy Arkin, the university’s vice-president for research and development.
The gala dinner will also serve as a re-launch for the organisation in Australia.
Federal executive director Barry Joseph said the organisation was proud to be presenting the accolade to Bishop, “in recognition of her role in supporting Israel in the UN and in denouncing unequivocally those who support boycotts of Israel”.
“Bishop has said that the international community should refrain from calling settlements illegal under international law,” he said.
“Under her stewardship, Australia has changed its voting patterns at the UN in favour of Israel.”
Previous recipients of the award include Ruby Rich-Shalit, Sir Hermann Black, Sir Asher Joel and Sir Zelman Cowen. “The award recognises individuals identified with the highest standards of professional achievement and whose careers are equally dedicated to leadership, scholarship and humanitarianism,” Joseph said.
He added that the organisation was also delighted to welcome Prof Arkin, a Hebrew University alumnus himself, to Australia. “He is the youngest individual ever to be appointed to his prestigious position,”Joseph said.
In terms of the organisation’s re-launch, Joseph said it has been “totally rebadged”.
“Since 1936 we have worked tirelessly in support of the university and met enormous success in both raising meaningful sums of money and attracting an ever-growing number of Australians to study in Jerusalem,” he said. “In order to sustain this long-term support, it was decided that the brand be reinvigorated.”
The gala dinner is at the InterContinental Sydney Double Bay, on November 22. For more information: (02) 9389 2825 or www.austfhu.org.au.