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A scheduling clash means Sydney’s Jews and Palestinians will gather at the same place for fuctions on the same night.

Both groups will converge on the New South Wales State Parliament building Thursday night for separate functions to mark the 1948 War of Independence.

Security will be tight as more than 600 people, including NSW Premier Morris Iemma, toast Israel at the annual Yom Ha’atzmaut cocktail reception hosted by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the State Zionist Council of NSW.

At the same time, about 100 pro-Palestinian supporters are expected at a function organized by the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine, hosted by Paul Lynch, the Minister for Local Government who in 2004 delivered a tribute to Yasser Arafat in State Parliament. A spokesperson for the Board of Deputies told JTA: “While we would have preferred the Palestinian function to be held at a different time, we have no problem with the democratic right of Palestinian supporters to hold a function. In similar vein, we expect others to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, and our right to celebrate that fact.” About 50 state lawmakers, ministers, diplomatic representatives from more than 25 countries, judges, trade union leaders and bureaucrats, as well as Israeli Ambassador Yuval Rotem, are expected to attend the Israel reception.

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