"AIJAC (Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council) sent a series of 13 policy questions to the campaigns of both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, leading the Liberal/National coalition, and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, leading the Australian Labor Party, to help their supporters as they go to the polls on July 2." (AIJAC asks policy questions, jwire.com.au)
What is the importance to Australia of its relationship with Israel and how can that relationship be strengthened?
Now in case you're pressed for time, LibLab's answer could be rendered thus, courtesy of the Bard:
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?/ Thou art more lovely and temperate."
For the masochists among you, here's an edited version of the answers:
M'Lord Turnbull: "Israel is a beacon of freedom and democracy in a region beset with violence and sectarian conflicts. It is a vibrant and tolerant society in an area that lacks freedoms... Israel is a centre of innovation... We have many shared historic, economic and cultural interests..."
Bill Shorten: "Australia and Israel's strong relationship is based on shared values: a commitment to democracy, freedom and security. We have a common experience as multicultural societies... Expanding our academic, economic and scientific exchange... will continue to strengthen our relationship."
And just so you know why we're on heat, here's a little snapshot* of the object of our passion:
"It happened the day Nasr overslept, was late for an important appointment, tried to avoid a checkpoint delay and was arrested. The handcuffs went on but no blindfold. 'Later I wished I'd been blindfolded.' As the soldiers locked him in a sentry-box-type cell beside the gate he noticed that one of them was a newcomer; later it transpired that this was the youngster's very first day on checkpoint duty. His three mates were well known to the locals.
"Soon, through his cell's tiny window, Nasr could see a friend approaching, twenty-seven-year-old Ali, accompanied as usual by his seven-year-old son, on their way to the family fields. Ali had passed through the gate, exchanging polite greetings with the soldiers, when one shouted a request for 'a light'. In response Ali turned, fumbling in a pocket - whereupon the newcomer panicked and shot him in the stomach. As he fled his son fled towards home, screaming. Nasr could see and hear the shooter becoming hysterical, as he realised his mistake, and being hugged and comforted by his mates. A helicopter would soon have arrived to rescue a wounded soldier but Ali lay unattended for four hours. On this side road no vehicle passed for the first hour. When a crowded taxi did appear, the soldiers dragged Ali onto the verge, opened the gate and ordered the driver not to stop. Now Nasr could see that his friend, only a few yards away, was still alive. 'I saw his chest rising and falling. I shouted again and again for an ambulance. They wouldn't listen, they wanted him to die first. When he stopped breathing they called the ambulance and it came in twenty minutes.'
"Subsequently, a doctor noted Ali's body's sinister yellow hue; this was a corpse drained of blood and the wound need not have been fatal. An inquiry heard evidence that that Ali was about to attack, was carrying a long, sharp knife. 'True,' said Nasr, 'he carried the knife to cut cauliflowers to sell in Ramallah.' Nasr's evidence was not required and he spent the next six months in 'administrative detention' (Israel-speak for imprisonment without trial). The inquiry concluded that Ali's death was accidental. Nasr was given to understand that if he disputed this verdict he would spend much longer in detention.
"Three years later Nasr's nightmares persisted. What stays most in my head is the boy's screams. He's ten now and he'll soon be an activist.' (I didn't ask what form his activism might take.) 'Asleep or awake I remember the blood running into the ground and me shouting and they didn't care - he's only an Arab, I'm only an Arab'." (Between River & Sea: Encounters in Israel & Palestine, Dervla Murphy, 2015, p 149)
What a babe!