‘Israel support to continue’

Julie Bishop speaking at Beth Weizmann Community Centre in Melbourne last year. Photo: Ren Rizzolo

AUSTRALIA’S new Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne will continue to support the State of Israel, according to Liberal deputy leader Josh Frydenberg.

Payne was appointed to the role after Julie Bishop, a longstanding friend of Israel and the Jewish community, stepped down after the leadership spill last week.

“Julie bishop has been an outstanding foreign minister and a great friend and colleague of mine,” Frydenberg told The AJN.

“I know that under Marise Payne, we will have continuity in our foreign policy and continue to support Israel, given our shared values and history.”

Communal leaders paid tribute to Bishop this week, and welcomed the appointment of Payne.

“During Ms Bishop’s tenure as Foreign Minister, bilateral relations between Israel and Australia have reached new heights in many areas including trade and security, and Australia had an honourable and courageous voting record in the United Nations resisting its anti-Israel culture,” Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) president Anton Block said.

“Ms Bishop was also a strong supporter of the ECAJ’s campaign to help survivors of the Holocaust and heirs of murdered Jews for restitution of property in eastern Europe that is rightly theirs.

“For this, Ms Bishop will always have our deep respect and gratitude.”

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) national chairman Mark Leibler echoed Block’s comments.

“Julie Bishop has set the bar high for excellence in her handling of one of the most demanding portfolios in Canberra,” he said.

“Her principled, unwavering support of Israel, peace negotiations and Australia’s Jewish community typified the commitment and confidence she brought to every policy and diplomatic move.

“Her recent courageous decision to redirect Australian aid from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to other aid conduits in opposition to the PA’s ‘pay-for-slay’ stipends to convicted terrorists was just one example of her enduring international leadership.”

Zionist Federation of Australia president Danny Lamm congratulated Bishop for her years of service to Australia, and particularly for the way she represented Australia on the international stage.

“She always had a very positive message on Israel, and she was exceptionally accessible with our communal concerns.”

Block, Leibler and Lamm all noted that Payne has extensive experience in defence and foreign policy issues, and said they look forward to working with her.