PM’s wife tours Israel

The Prime Minister’s wife headed a group of top businesswomen on a mission to Israel this week, leading them on a hectic itinerary of high-tech innovators, universities and local politicians.

Lucy Turnbull and the joint mission head Jillian Segal took 34 other women to key tourist sites, including Yad Vashem where they had a moving tour, and the Western Wall where they had time for private reflection.

Turnbull also played Israel’s favourite game: mishpachas, digging up a family connection with a family she encountered. Spending an evening at the residence of Australia’s ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma and his wife Rachel Lord, she said that she and Lord are distantly related. They are both descended from a seaman from the First Fleet by the name of Owen Cavanough.

Turnbull, a prominent businesswoman, signed up to lead the mission before her husband became PM, and was careful to avoid political meetings and kept a low profile with media.

She didn’t meet the current President Reuven Rivlin, but did take the mission to visit his predecessor Shimon Peres, and to one local politician, Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat. A former lord mayor of Sydney, she was interested to hear Barkat’s insights on local governance.

Full story by Nathan Jeffay in the Australian Jewish News