Jewish Australians will have say in summit


Prominent Jews will have a chance to contribute to a major summit on Australia’s future, despite its clash with Passover.

Following protests by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd agreed to hold a pre-summit meeting for 50 eminent Jews so the community could be involved in the 2020 Summit being held to discuss the challenges facing Australia.

The list of 1,000 Australians invited to the April 19-20 summit in Canberra, released Friday, included several high-profile Jews. The first seder night is April 19.

It is unclear whether the Jews chosen will attend the summit or participate in the Jewish talkfest on April 14.

Among the picks were Sandra Levy, the former director of television at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; David Gonski, the chair of Coca-Cola-Amatil and chancellor of the University of New South Wales; Louise Adler, a publisher who has clashed with the Jewish establishment over numerous books she published that were hostile to Israel; and Barrie Kosky, a celebrated theater director.

In a letter to council President Robert Goot earlier this month, Rudd offered his apologies for the inadvertent clash and asked the group to forward its nominations for the pre-summit Jewish meeting.

Goot said the compromise was a “very positive result for the community.”

Rudd has assuaged initial anger at the apparent snub in recent weeks by moving a historic bipartisan motion in parliament to congratulate Israel on its 60th anniversary and then addressing the annual United Israel Appeal fund-raiser last week.

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