1500 West Australians, including over 100 Federal and State Parliamentarians and community leaders converged on the Victory Life Centre in Osborne Park to stand up and support Israel.The Centre's main auditorium, which seats 800 was quickly filled to capacity, and the second overflow auditorium (linked by video to the proceedings) was also soon overflowing, requiring a third overflow room to be hastily set up in the lobby of the centre.
Attendance at the pre-Launch seminar and book launch were also attended beyond all expectation. Clearly there is a quiet but powerful bond between Western Australia and and Israel. All that was needed was an opportunity to express that feeling, and Western Australia responded resoundingly.
The event was chaired by inaugural Chairman of the FOIWA, Bob Kucera (former State Minister) and Vice Chairman, Ray Halligan (former State Upper House Member).
The dignitaries in attendance and the apologies were too many to mention. Apologies included Hon. Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader of the Opposition. Her statement of support was given by Ray Halligan.
Bob Kucera passionately expressed the importance of support for Israel as a "friend in need" and urged everyone present to join the organisation and look forward to hearing quality speakers, seminares and being kept informed.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith re-iterated Australia's support for Israel's right to live in peace and security, from the outset and across the political spectrum.
Michael Keenan, Federal Member for Stirling; Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs urged all Australians to support Israel, especially our leaders. he also delivered a message of support from the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbot.
Michael Sutherland MLA, Deputy Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly, and Kate Doust MLC, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the State Legislative Council; Shadow Minister for Energy; Science and Innovation, who are co-conveners of the State Parliamentary Friends of Israel both spoke of their recent study tour of Israel and urged all West Australians to join the organisation and help it work for peace.
The event was concluded by Israel's Ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem who took the podium to a standing ovation, in a spontaneous, emotional expression of warmth. His thanks to Western Australia was underlined by a video address from Jerusalem by Danny Ayalon, Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel.