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Transcript of the Prime Minister the Hon John Howard MP address at the Traditional Candle Lighting Ceremony for the Jewish Festival of Chanukah Darlinghurst, Sydney



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P R I M E M I N I S T E R

23 December 1997

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP ADDRESS AT THE TRADITIONAL CANDLE LIGHTING CEREMONY FOR THE JEWISH FESTIVAL OF CHANUKAH

DARLINGHURST, SYDNEY

E& OE....................................................................................................................................

Thank you very much Rabi Cohen, to his Excellency the Ambassador, to Mr Borskey to Peter Debnam and other distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

It is a very special privilege for me to be here tonight for a number o f reasons that go beyond the lighting o f the first candle of the Menorah it also is an opportunity for me to honour, not only the creation o f the state of Israel 50 years ago, next year, but also to honour the immense contribution o f the Jewish community of Australia to our beautiful country.

And to say again on behalf o f the Australian Government that not only is the survival, and the prosperity, and the security and the invincibility o f the state o f Israel behind secure, defensible boundaries, a comer stone o f Australian foreign policy but also the

warm and continuing embrace within the family o f Australia of the Jewish community that is also a constant o f our policy and o f our approach. Tolerance and acceptance o f people o f different faiths and different ethnicity and o f different religion and o f different background is a fundamental element o f the modern Australia in which we all believe.

And we may continue in abhorrence o f any kind o f discrimination based on race or religion or ethnic background is also a constant o f political life in Australia. Australian Jews from the very beginning have made an immense contribution to this country and I

remarked to my host as I arrived that my own father was one of the many thousands o f Australian soldiers who fought under the command of General Sir John Monash, the Commander of the (inaudible) on the Western Front. And he takes his place, Monash,

along with Jews of all walks o f life who have contributed to the building o f the modern Australia.

So it is a great honour to have been invited to light the first candle to have beaten Clinton and Blair and Mandela and indeed everyone else in being the very first to light the candle. And isn’t there a beautiful symmetry about the fact that the very last official function I perform before Christmas, the very last official function that I perform before Christmas is to light the Mandelah.

[Ends]

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