Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gillard to lead Israel delegation

From The Australian Jewish News, May 27, 2009, by NAOMI LEVIN :

[Australian] DEPUTY Prime Minister Julia Gillard will become the second senior Rudd Government minister to visit Israel next month.

Gillard will participate in a leadership forum organised by the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE) ...

"The Deputy Prime Minister will lead a delegation of Australians to the first Australian Israel Leadership Forum in June," Gillard's spokesperson told The AJN. "The Australian Israel Leadership Forum will highlight both the strength and potential of the Australian Israel relations. The forum will provide an opportunity for both nations to build stronger ties as well as build important people-to-people links."

It will be the second visit for Gillard, who has attended and spoken at Jewish community fundraising events, including the Jewish National Fund. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith visited Israel in October last year. He was the first minister to visit the country after the Rudd Government was elected in November 2007.

Joining Gillard at the leadership forum will be a number of her parliamentary colleagues from both sides of the house, including former treasurer Peter Costello, Jewish MP Mark Dreyfus and Shadow Education Minister Christopher Pyne. They are expected to meet with their Israeli Knesset counterparts.

...AICE is a relatively new organisation that promotes ties, particularly cultural ties, between Australia and Israel. It was launched in 2002 in simultaneous ceremonies: one at Australia's Parliament House in Canberra and the other at the Israeli Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.
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