AIJAC National Chairman Mark Leibler, AC, spoke to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin this week regarding the postponement of the planned State Visit to Australia. The phone conversation, initiated by President Rivlin, followed the president’s conversation earlier the same night with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
In their discussion, the President apologised unreservedly for cancelling the planned visit. He explained the circumstances which he said had led him to conclude he had no choice but to cancel, and said his phone call with Prime Minister Turnbull had been very constructive – although the Prime Minister was not reticent in conveying his disappointment at the cancellation of the visit. President Rivlin also said that he had told the prime minister that he would love to reschedule his visit and would agree to do so at a time nominated by the Australian Government.
President Rivlin also specifically asked Mr. Leibler to pass on both his best wishes and his apologies to the Australian Jewish Community.
Mr Leibler, for his part, conveyed the disappointment of the Australian Jewish community over the cancellation to the President, and also said he had received communications from the Australian Government indicating their deep disappointment as well. He also mentioned to the President that he would be seeing Prime Minister Turnbull in Canberra on the following day, in relation to other matters, and had no doubt the Prime Minister would raise this issue.
While Prime Minister Turnbull did raise the issue, Mr Leibler said of their discussion, “I think it is reasonably clear from our frank conversation that, despite his disappointment, there is no real damage to the warm relationship between Australia and lsrael. ln fact, the Prime Minister said that he would welcome a visit from lsrael’s Prime Minister at the appropriate time.”
For more information, contact AIJAC on (03) 9681 6660.