Australia’s Jerusalem ploy fails to avoid by-election beating, risks Muslim backlash

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games at the Sydney Opera House, Sydney

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games at the Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia, October 20, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Source: Reuters

By Tom Westbrook , Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – In the kosher cafes of Sydney’s east, Australia’s surprise move to mull recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital won some support but not enough votes to prevent a huge backlash against the government at a crucial weekend by-election.

The results, with about a fifth of the Wentworth electorate switching their vote away from Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government, are on track to plunge the ruling conservative coalition into political chaos and a parliamentary minority.

Its Israel gambit could unravel further.

Morrison’s unexpected announcement last week that he was open to Australia moving its mission from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as the United States did in May, ended some 70 years staying out of one of the Middle East’s thorniest issues.

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