In my lifetime, I dream of seeing peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. With all my heart I want to see an end to this long and protracted conflict.
I believe deeply that a better future is possible.
It’s why I regularly meet with Palestinian advocates here in Australia. We don’t always agree but I value our honest conversations and shared ambition for a better future.
And at the same time, I take my role as a leader of the Australian Jewish Community extremely seriously.
Of course, I understand Israel has designated its capital as Jerusalem. It’s where it’s government buildings are and where it’s parliament sits. Frankly, Capital cities are sovereign decisions for countries.
I didn’t like the Morrison Government playing politics with these sensitive issues, and it’s my view that any further alteration to Australia’s policy needed to be considered extremely carefully.
To my disappointment, this did not happen.
I know people in my electorate and across Australia are hurt by this decision, and to be honest, so am I. And in relation to the insensitive timing of this announcement on a holy day, I am sorry – that clearly shouldn’t have happened.
I know the past 24 hours have been extremely difficult for many people. It’s a reminder of the deeply held views that must be considered whenever develop policy on the region.
What I’m focused on now is rebuilding trust between the Federal Labor Government and the Australian Jewish community, as well as developing sound and principled foreign policy in consultation with all impacted parties.
I know many of you share our aspirations for peace and I am confident Australia can play a positive role in achieving this.