THE HON MARK DREYFUS KC MP
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
UNITED WITH ISRAEL RALLY
13 OCTOBER 2023
I am here tonight representing the Prime Minister and the Australian Government.
And I am also here as a member of the Australian Jewish community. Melbourne’s Jewish community. Our community.
Tonight, we mourn the greatest loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust.
Tonight, we mourn more than 1,200 people who have been murdered by Hamas terrorists over the course of the last week.
Hundreds of young Israelis mercilessly hunted down at a music festival.
Israelis murdered in their homes – shot as they answered their front doors. Israeli children butchered in their beds. Entire families mercilessly slaughtered in their cars, their kitchens, their living rooms.
Men, women and children. Jewish men. Jewish women. Jewish children.
Many of us here this evening are the children or grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. I am the son of a Holocaust survivor.
And it is unbearable to comprehend how, given all we have endured as a people over our long history, this could be happening again.
Spending sleepless nights waiting desperately to hear from loved ones.
So many fearing for the safety of family and friends in Israel – including those being called up to serve.
There is no excuse for the atrocities of Hamas. There is no justification.
This was not just an attack on the State of Israel.
And it was not just an attack on the people of Israel.
This was an attack on the Jewish people.
And it was also an attack on the values shared by all democratic nations, including Australia.
Over thousands of years, the Jewish community – our community – has only survived because of our unbreakable spirit in the face of horrific prejudice. And I see that unbreakable spirit here tonight.
But this time, unlike so many times in our past, the Jewish community is not alone. Israel is not alone.
Australia's support for Israel is deep and enduring.
It is a bond of true friendship, which goes back to the founding of modern Israel when Doc Evatt helped introduce UN Resolution 181 – and to when, under Prime Minister Ben Chifley, Australia was the first country to cast a vote in favour of creating the state of Israel.
Tonight, more than 75 years since Australia supported the creation of the state of Israel, my message to you on behalf of the Prime Minister and the Australian Government – your government – is simple: Australia stands as one with Israel and the people of Israel.
Australia stands as one with the Jewish community.
And we always will.