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A Sydney-based lawyer was elected president of the umbrella body of Australian Jewry.

Robert Goot ran unopposed Monday at the annual conference of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

He succeeds Grahame Leonard, of Melbourne, who served a three-year term. The presidency of Australian Jewry rotates between Sydney and Melbourne every two or three years.

The former president of Moriah College, Australia’s largest Jewish school, Goot has been heavily involved in Jewish affairs since he was elected the youngest president of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies in 1978 at the age of 30. He was appointed a member of the Order of Australia in 1988 for service to the Jewish community.

During the recent Australian federal election, Goot was accused of tipping off the Liberal Party about a Labor Party policy launch, prompting an uproar by several Labor apparatchiks.

Goot’s election comes just two days after incumbent John Howard of the Liberal Party was soundly beaten in the prime minister’s election by Labor’s Kevin Rudd. Howard’s government had been exceptionally close to the Jewish community and Israel.

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