SYDNEY (JTA) – In his maiden speech in Australia’s Parliament, a 28-year-old senator called for Jerusalem to be recognized as Israel’s capital.
Addressing the Senate in Canberra, Victorian Liberal Senator James Paterson on Tuesday said he was a strong supporter of Israel, calling it “a shining example to the entire world of how to build a prosperous, tolerant, harmonious and creative country.”
He called on the Australian government to move its embassy to the city that Israel considers its capital.
“Australia has chosen to locate our embassy in Israel in Tel Aviv. But Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital city—Jerusalem is. Every nation deserves the right to choose its own capital city,” he said.
“It would be a symbolic but an important step for Australia to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and to move our embassy there,” he added.
A spokesman for Paterson told JTA the senator visited Israel with the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council in 2009, on a student leaders trip.
He is the youngest senator in the history of the Australian Parliament.
Other countries – including Canada – maintain their embassies in Israel in Tel Aviv.