Australia’s new prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has revealed he has Jewish roots.
Turnbull was sworn in earlier this week, following the departure of Tony Abbott in a leadership challenge.
The multi-millionaire spoke about his Jewish lineage in a 2013 interview with the Australian Jewish News, which was reprinted this week.
He recalled his mother, author and academic Coral Magnolia Lansbury, spoke about her heritage but he has never looked into it further.
“My mother always used to say that her mother’s family was Jewish. I’ve never researched it. I honestly don’t know where or how I would do that.
“I grew up in the Eastern Suburbs and as we all observe there were a lot of Jews in the Eastern Suburbs and I have always been very comfortable.
“There is no doubt that the strong traditions of family and the whole heimishe atmosphere of the Jewish community, which I’m sure some people don’t like, for me – as someone who is a good friend, but not part of it – I find very admirable.”
Reflecting on his mother, he noted, “She had a lot of Jewish friends in Sydney and a lot of Jewish friends in Philadelphia, where she was living when she died.”
As the new premier, Turnbull has indicated that Australia needs a stronger relationship with Israel.
At a conference last month, he said: “We need to collaborate more with Israel, particularly on matters of science and technology. The more we can do with Israel, the better.”