SYDNEY (JTA) — Making his maiden speech in Parliament, the youngest senator in Australia’s history called for Jerusalem to be recognized as Israel’s capital.
Addressing the Senate in Canberra on Tuesday, James Paterson, a 28-year-old Victorian Liberal, said he was a strong supporter of Israel, calling it “a shining example to the entire world of how to build a prosperous, tolerant, harmonious and creative country.”
Paterson called on the Australian government to move its embassy to the city that Israel considers its capital.
“Australia has chosen to locate our embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv. But Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital city — Jerusalem is,” he said. “Every nation deserves the right to choose its own capital city.
“It would be a symbolic but an important step for Australia to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and to move our embassy there.”
A spokesman for Paterson told JTA the senator visited Israel with the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council in 2009 on a student leaders trip.