I’ve read speculation that the current Australian PM has made some pro-Israel statements recently because there’s a by-election in the seat of Wentworth, because the seat is about ten or fifteen percent Jewish.

I’m surprised by this claim, because I’ve read elsewhere that in the USA, Jewish voters aren’t exceptionally pro-Israel (apparently Evangelical Christians are more pro-Israel), and I don’t see why it’d be different in Australia.

Why is Wentworth considered more pro-Israel than Australia as a whole? Also, are Jews who live in an area with a (comparatively) high Jewish population more pro-Israel than Jews who live in other areas?

  • 1
    If anyone wants to know which PM is being referred to, use the “created at” time stamp of this question.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 11:36

2 Answers 2


The comparison with the US isn't very contructive because they're very different countries (e.g. Americans are much more religious, and there isn't a powerful, organised evangelical lobby in Australia).

Most Australians are more sympathetic to Palestine than Israel (Roy Morgan/APAN survey). Australian Jews are generally sympathetic to Israel, even though they're not all uncritical supporters (2017 survey). So Australian Jews are far more pro-Israel than the general Australian population, based on a comparison of those surveys, and an area with lots of Jewish people would be significantly more pro-Israel than the average Australian area.

On the other hand Ha'aretz claims that Australian politicians are far more pro-Israel than the typical Australian. Although Labor is reportedly moving in a pro-Palestinian direction. Therefore it may not be entirely a cynical electoral calculation by Scott Morrison but may reflect a genuine sympathy with Israel, or a desire to establish a clear distance from Labor.

I can't point to any evidence about whether Australian Jews in an area with a high Jewish population would be more pro-Israel than Australian Jews in non-Jewish areas. You could hypothesize that Jews living in a very Jewish area will identify more strongly as Jews (and hence with Israel, based on the survey cited above), share the common opinions of Australians Jews, and be more involved with Jewish issues (including Israel). This is both because of choosing to live there, and then encountering lots of other Jews every day. But that's just a generalization.


Wentworth has a concentration of observant and non-observant Jewish people compared to other electorates. However, as Australian electors, voters in Wentworth who happen to be Jewish have a wide variety of interests and opinions including on the state of Israel and Australia's proper relationship with that state. Electorate, domestic or other international politics may be more important. Just as within the Jewish communities of Israel, a variety of opinions on the state of Israel exist within the Jewish communities in Wentworth.

The same can be said for the non-Jewish voters in Wentworth.

Here it is difficult to predict in that while Wentworth returns members for the urban conservative party in Australia, and that Australian conservatism has been associated even more so than labourism with supporting the existence and interests of the state of Israel, Wentworth traditionally preselects and returns much more "wet" (economically soft over hard right) and "liberal" (socially progressive, tolerant and pluralist) conservatives than other "safe" conservative electorates. Wetness and liberality in Australian politics is associated with multilateralism and human rights observance, issues which predispose politicians to be less supportive of some of the state of Israel's actions; and, which indicate an electorate with similar concerns.

Finally, contemporary ABC.net.au reporting indicates that at least one Jewish organisation in Wentworth does not appreciate being patronised by a government announcing major foreign policy changes apparently in favour of the state of Israel during a by-election in a seat with a concentration of Jewish communities.

It is difficult to plumb such an answer due to the variety of interests of all electors, the liberal pro-human rights returns demanded by a wet preselecting safely conservative electorate, and due to the variety of responses possible. It may well be that an increased liberality in the electorate's conservative voters counter balances the probability of a slight increase in pro-Israel interests amongst Jewish identifying labour and conservative voters. But it is certain to say that electors of any sort in Wentworth predominately determine their vote casting on issues other than policy surrounding Israel.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .