Australia changes election date to avoid Yom Kippur clash

Australia’s prime minister has changed his country’s election day to avoid a clash with Yom Kippur.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd moved the vote to September 7 after calling the original 14 September date set by his predecessor Julia Gillard a “massive inconvenience” for Australia’s Jewish population, which stands at around 100,000.

The news comes after Australia’s former deputy prime minister criticised the “American Jewish lobby” for their “increasingly shrill” criticism of Pope Pius XII, who was head of the Vatican during the Second World War.

Tim Fischer, who held the position in the government from 1996 to 1999, stated in his newly-published book that the lobby is “run by hardliners” who condemn the Pope and dismiss competing claims for political reasons.

Mr Fischer claims that rather than staying “silent when a strong moral voice needed to be raised” as Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor has stated, the Pope in fact saved 7,000 Jews from being transported to Auschwitz.

Last updated: 5:35pm, August 5 2013