Look who's next in line for some of that seductive Israeli stroking:-
"Following hot on the heels of his parliamentary colleagues' trip to Israel with the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange (AICE), Victorian Senator Mitch Fifield departed for the country last Friday. The Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, Carers & the Voluntary Sector was awarded a Yachad scholarship* to travel to Israel. Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop, together with other MPs**, is also visiting Israel this month as part of an Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) trip. Senator Fifield said his trip would primarily focus on matters relating to his portfolio. He will visit Israeli non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that provide help to people with disabilities, their families and their carers. He will also visit NGOs that work with youth at risk. Senator Fifield has been a long-time supporter of the Jewish community and was also one of two senators who recently defended Israel in parliament.***" (Senator's Israel scholarship, The Australian Jewish News, 10/7/09)
[*Yachad scholarship: "Mitch is an advisory board member of the Yachad Accelerated Learning Project (YALP). YALP is a unique educational program based on Israeli approaches to addressing systemic educational disadvantage. YALP began as a pilot project in Australia aimed at raising the scholastic achievements of students in regional and remote communities, particularly those with a high proportion of academically low achieving indigenous students... YALP is a partnership between: Indigenous & Non-Indigenous Communities; Government, Industry & Philanthropy; Israel & Australia." (mitchfifield.com)]
[** "I take this opportunity to acknowledge that, while the parliament is in recess, a number of members of this and the other place will be travelling to Israel. At the moment, the Deputy Prime Minister, with the member for Higgins, is leading the Australia-Israel leadership dialogue, which Senator Brandis, Senator Barnett and Mr Pyne are also participating in. Also during the break there will be an Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) delegation, led by Ms Julie Bishop, going to Israel. Senator [Simon] Birmingham [Lib SA], Senator [Scott] Ryan [Lib Vic], Mrs [Louise] Markus [Lib MP for Greenway, NSW] and Mr [Bruce] Billson [Lib MP for Dunkley, Vic] will also be taking part in that. And I will be going to Israel on a Yachad scholarship to study disability issues and the role of women in the Israeli military. These high-level exchanges are important. Australia and Israel share common values. Both Israel and Australia are great and robust democracies. Israel is a beacon of hope and liberty in the Middle East. Israel needs its friends, and there are none more staunch than Australia." (Adjournment speech - Gilad Shalit, 25/6/09, mitchfifield.com)]
[*** "Those who kidnapped Gilad are terrorists. They are criminals. Gilad was defending his country, democracy and the rule of law. We should not forget that Gilad was defending his homeland - defending Israel from those we know seek its destruction." (ibid)]
Can hardly wait for Mitch's coming report on "the role of women in the Israeli army." Only one thing's bothering me: if disability issues is Mitch's thing, wouldn't Gaza be the place to go?