|New Zealand elects Jewish Prime Minister|
National Leader John Key defeated Labour’s Helen Clark and became the third Prime Minister with Jewish ancestry in New Zealand, a small Jewish community of an estimated 7000 people.
The first was Julius Vogel who served as New Zealand’s eighth Prime Minister in the 1870s. Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell followed in the 1920s, though he later converted to Christianity.
John Key’s mother, Ruth Lazar, fled Austria on the eve of World War II. It is reported that he would like to visit Israel in order to pay tribute to the members of his mother’s family that perished in the Holocaust.
The New Zealand Jewish community is optimistic about the potential for the growth of ties between Israel and New Zealand and Key has made a presence at a number of Jewish communal events.
(Issue Dec 08/Jan 09)