Josh Frydenberg made history on Friday after he became Australia’s first Jewish deputy Liberal leader, after yet another political coup which gave the country its fifth prime minister in six years.
A former energy and environment minister, Frydenberg backs new PM Scott Morrison and was elected to become Australia’s Treasurer.
Born to Hungarian and Polish parents, Frydenberg originally wanted to become a professional tennis player, but went on to gain a scholarship at the University of Oxford, where he studied international relations.
While Jewish leaders in Australia said they would work with whoever held power, the head of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) paid tribute to Morrison’s predecessor Malcolm Turnbull.
ECAJ president Anton Black said he wanted “to express the Jewish community’s deep appreciation to him [Turnbull] for his service and his strong and consistent friendship to the Australian Jewish community and the State of Israel”.
Turnbull, a wealthy ex-banker who was ousted on Friday, welcomed Benjamin Netanyahu to Australia as the first visiting Israeli prime minister in history, and returned the favour months later by visiting Israel.
Mark Leibler, chair of the Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, also paid tribute to Turnbull for his “support for Israel and Middle East reconciliation, and genuine concern for the welfare of the Jewish community”.