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President's Report

President's Report

06 June 2011


I met with Daniel Andrews (Leader of the Opposition), representatives from the Uniting Church regarding BDS, attended the VAJEX Anzac Day Memorial and Catholic/Jewish Dinner and was interviewed by Melbourne Weekly regarding anti-Semitism and ‘The Age’ regarding the closure of SIG and the Multicultural Advisory Unit... Click here for a complete list.


As many of you are aware Geoffrey Zygier resigned as Executive Director, effective from 13 April. The Board and I wish him well into the future.

The position was advertised and we have been interviewing candidates. I hope to be able to make an announcement in the near future.


We are reviewing the proposed plans and in discussion with other tenants. It appears that the work next door may commence in June and Makor will possibly move out by August/September. Once this occurs, we can commence work on the fit out and hopefully move in by November.


I had a very productive meeting with Daniel Andrews, Leader of the Opposition during which I briefed him on all aspects of work done by the JCCV, and discussed the major issues currently effecting our community. Mr Andrews and his family were guests at my home for Shabbat dinner, cementing the relationship on behalf of the community.

I have also hosted Shabbat dinners with Andrew McIntosh, Minister for Corrections and Crime Prevention and Robert Clarke, Attorney General so as to promote our community’s relationship with the government.

In addition, I have met with Advisors to the Attorney General and Minister for Police and Emergency Services regarding BDS actions and lack of proper policing. An extensive written report was submitted following the last demonstration.

It is expected that we will arrange another politician’s lunch which we will co-host with the ZCV later in the year.


The annual briefing to patrons was conducted in order to keep our patrons informed of the work of the JCCV. The evening appeared successful with many questions put forward and discussions around pertinent issues. I am developing a strategy to cement and increase our patronage and funding.


The situation at Lion FM is currently quiet although there have been more resignations from the committee. I understand that ACMA have written to Lion FM requesting answers. My membership has now been accepted. I have welcomed an approach by Lion FM seeking affiliation to the JCCV. There has also been a request for a letter of support for their license application which will be considered once all issues are resolved.


There was the usual problem that the automatic activation of the “green man” cycle did not work at the beginning of Pesach. Complaints were received. It was taken up with Vic Roads who undertook to rectify the “computer glitch” for the last days few days. We have approached VicRoads to reconfirm details for Shavuot.


There has been some publicity given to the proposed disbanding of SIG (Security Intelligence Group and the proposed disbanding of the Multicultural Advisory Unit.

I am more concerned about the disbanding of SIG and have made representations by way of letters and meetings. It is particularly concerning that we have not been asked to provide input. I am hopeful that the units may ultimately be retained although the details are still to be released.


I am pleased that the reports on BDS that I have submitted and my discussions with the Police seem to have had an impact because the last demonstration at Melbourne Central and QV on 20 May 2011 had a large police presence. There was significant disruption to shoppers, this time with a number of shops closing and 2 arrests were made. There was also a Refugee demonstration at Highpoint on Sunday 29 May during which the protesters noticed an Israeli stall in the shopping centre and it became a somewhat violent BDS protest during which some demonstrators were arrested.

Violence on Campus

The MUJSS Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration at Melbourne Uni was marred by a protest by people who it is said are associated with the Socialist Alternative. An incident occurred when the wires to the MUJS speakers were cut and a scuffle ensued. I understand the police intervened and a complaint has been lodged with the Vice Chancellor.

There have also been some antisemitic occurrences at Monash Uni and we are working closely with AUJS and helping them to deal with the incidents.


Members of the Darfur Community

I have been provided with further details from members of the Melbourne Darfur community as to the assistance they require for Darfuris in Israel who would like to be resettled. I will arrange a meeting between them and the Deputy Ambassador of Israel, Meir Itzchaki and Danny Lamm, ECAJ President to see how we can assist.

Uniting Church (Tasmanian and Victorian Synod)

In response to our letter to the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA), myself and Sam Tatarka, ZCV President, were invited by the UCA Directors to lunch. The meeting appeared to go very well with effective dialogue and education. We will stay in communication as they consider their response to the draft resolution being circulated by the National Council of Churches (see attachment). We offered advocacy, information and dialogue as well as facilitating resolution of issues of concern in which they feel they have been stone walled by the Embassy.

Croatian Community

The meeting with members of the Croatian community was cordial and productive. Some of the members attended Yom Hashoah and we will soon organise a dinner or a supper with the community.

Catholic Community

The dinner held on 21 May 2011 was well attended and ran very smoothly. The speeches were excellent as was the entertainment and level of bonhomie in the room. Our regular events have led to the development of good relationships especially amongst key stakeholders and I am finding the chance to develop dialogue and opportunities of mutual interest.


Yom Hashoah

The Yom Hashoah commemoration at Robert Blackwood Hall was excellent and Hilary, Anton, the sub-committee and Jewish Holocaust Centre did an excellent job putting it all together. The Melbourne Cemetery commemoration was again moving and profound. It was only attended by 60 people due to uncertain weather, so we will consider moving this event indoors, closer to the Jewish hub and engaging youth.

David Southwick congratulated the JCCV for its Yom Hashoah commemorations at a recent sitting of parliament (comments appendixed).

Yom Ha’atzmaut Cocktail Party

This function was again an extraordinary event, with a high level of attendance by politicians and community leaders. Co-hosted with the Zionist Council of Victoria, the speakers included the Premier, Leader of the Opposition and the Israeli Ambassador. Ted Baillieu and Daniel Andrews addressed a crowded room and spoke of their ongoing support for Israel, her accomplishments and the contributions of Victorian Jewry.

At a recent parliamentary sitting, David Southwick spoke about put his commitment to Israel and raised his anticipation of the forthcoming cocktail party (comments appendixed).

Chanukah in the City

I am in discussions with various groups as to partnering with them for Chanukah in the City 2011. The JCCV will not conduct a large event as before in Federation Square due to concerns about possible inclement weather and cost.

Lighting in Federation Square

The JCCV is excited to be co-hosting “Women from the Jewish community of Melbourne,” represented by AIJAC, JCCV, MDA, NCJWA and WIZO Victoria. The Shabbat candle lighting will occur on Friday 24th June, 3 pm in Federation Square during the Winter Light Festival. There will be visual displays on the big screen and mini Glicks challas to give away.


The wording of the proposed amendment has been finalised and the Executive supports the resolution to be proposed by NCJWA (Vic).


The second day proved very productive and we are preparing a plan to move forward on the issues that were discussed. The plan will be presented to plenum once finalised.


Amit will shortly finish his term and we are awaiting Simon Glynn’s visa to be approved. It is hoped he will be here by the beginning of July. David Michelson has tendered his resignation so he can pursue private interests. In the meantime, Daniel Goodhardt has accepted a full time position.

Funding For CSG

David Southwick made an adjournment speech on the Coalition's commitment to provide funds to assist CSG, based upon the coalition’s pledge of $40 000 a year for the next three years during the election campaign.  The Minister for Corrections and Crime Prevention, Andrew McIntosh, responded positively and in support. The speech and response is appendixed. I have made mention of the bipartisan support that CSG has received over the years which is very much appreciated.


Jo Silver & I met with members of the Melbourne Jewish Indian Community. It appears that the community numbers 80-90 people. There are concerns about assimilation so we shall try and coordinate some activities to bring them into the general Jewish community.


The scheduling of this proposed event on 17 July by a Canberra based organisation, run by Manny Waks has received some publicity in the AJN. The event will be run in Melbourne and has caused some concern based on the identity of the speaker. It must be noted that Manny is currently President of the Canberra community and therefore a Vice President of the ECAJ. It appears the event has been organised without any consultation or collaboration with any organisations in Melbourne.

John Searle


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