In a video broadcast to the Yeshiva Centre’s annual gala dinner on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
reaffirmed his government’s pre-election pledges to the Jewish community on security and funding for day schools.
The prime minister said it was his first address to a major community gathering since attaining office, and confirmed he would be delivering his promise for “a schools security program costing $20 million over four years”.
The funding was not exclusively for Jewish schools, but they would be the “main beneficiaries”.
Rudd also reiterated a pledge of $16 million for Jewish schools “to make up for inequities created by the previous government’s school-funding model”.
However, the prime minister did not provide an update on tax deductibility for security, which is soon to be debated in parliament.
Rudd commended the Yeshiva for “its wonderful contribution”.
“It reflects core values of Australia and beliefs that we share: a strong commitment to faith, family and community, a belief in the value of education and opportunity for everyone, and a willingness to extend special care and compassion to those who need it most,” he said.
The prime minister wished the Yeshiva Centre success and concluded his address, to resounding applause, with the words, “Am Yisrael Chai.”
Shadow Treasurer Malcolm Turnbull attended the gala and impressed attendees with his ever-increasing vocabulary of Hebrew and Yiddish words, including calling major Yeshiva sponsor Harry Triguboff AO – who celebrated his 75th birthday at the gathering – “a mensch”.
Guests at the event included US Consul-General Judith Fergin, NSW Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell, Minister for Roads and Commerce Eric Roozendaal and member for Vaucluse Peter Debnam.
The Yeshiva Centre honoured entrepreneur and communal identity Kevin Bermeister with a “leadership in philanthropy award”.
Entertainment was provided by MC Vince Sorrenti, the Yeshiva Boys Choir and jazz legend James Morrison.
Click play to watch video