Monday, September 8, 2008

Wales, UK - South Wales' Jewish Community Welcomes New Premier

Wales, UK -- Just hours after New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma’s shock resignation on Friday, the Jewish community seems to have moved on, with leaders already lining up to welcome his successor, former Water Minister Nathan Rees. The changeover was swift with Rees sworn in on Friday afternoon after Iemma resigned under the cloud of a caucus revolt that threatened to dump him.

Iemma’s fall comes after weeks of sinking approval ratings, the resignation of his loyal Deputy Premier John Watkins earlier in the week and the sacking of Treasurer Michael Costa, just hours before his own ousting. It also follows his surprise $2.5 million pledge last month to the upcoming Jewish security appeal.

“We acknowledge Morris Iemma’s great support for the Jewish community,” NSW Jewish Board of Deputies acting president Yair Miller said, before quickly moving on to hail his successor. “In his inaugural speech to State Parliament last year, Nathan Rees emphasized society’s need for fairness, justice, accountability and a fair go. These are all core values which the Jewish community endorses. He also has an understanding of Israel, recently visiting the country on a trade mission and declaring himself impressed with its water technology. We congratulate Rees on his elevation to the premiership and look forward to working with him and his team.”

Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) CEO Anthony Hollis, who accompanied Rees on that AICC-sponsored mission to Israel last October, also ushered in the new Premier. “[Rees] thoroughly enjoyed the trip, seeing Israel’s innovation in water and possible avenues of possible collaboration between the two countries,” he said. “We wish him every success in his new role."

AICC president Kim Jacobs added: “So far, we’ve had an excellent relationship with the [former] Labor government, and we look forward to continuing that relationship under the new Premier and his team.”

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