THE Zionist Council of Victoria (ZCV), Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) and World Zionist Organisation this week honoured Philip Chester’s contribution to the Zionist movement and dedication to strengthening Australia’s ties with Israel by awarding him the prestigious Jerusalem Prize at its annual assembly.
The accolade was presented on Tuesday night at Beth Weizmann Community Centre in recognition of his unwavering support and his tireless efforts as former president of the ZFA.
Having become involved in the community aged just six when he joined Betar, and subsequently being active in the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, he served an eight-year term as president of the ZFA, stepping down from the role last March.
In his address to more than 300 people, Chester discussed his support for the next generation of leaders and Zionists as they prepare to take the reins of community organisations.
“Despite what we hear about the apathy and selfishness of Gen-Y, there are undoubtedly many competent and passionate younger members of our community who want to be involved in Jewish and Zionist life if we are prepared to let them,” Chester said.
He continued, “If we are willing to give them meaningful responsibility, even if we think they are too young, you’ll see how they’ll rise to the challenge. This in fact is how many of our leaders started their communal careers.”
Attendees at the assembly included Member for Isaacs Mark Dreyfus and Israeli ambassador Shmuel Ben-Shmuel.
The keynote speaker was immediate past president of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism Yaron Shavit.
Recipient of 2014 Jerusalem Prize Philip Chester, ZFA President Danny Lamm, Israeli ambassador Shmuel Ben-Shmuel and ZCV president Sam Tatarka. Photo: Peter Haskin.