school art competition2

beersheba book

 

israel

  • Commemorations in Israel 2017

    On October 31, 2017, a large crowd gathered to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Beersheba breakthrough in Israel.  It was a very moving experience with excellent speeches by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the Governor General of New Zealand, Dame Patsy Reddy.

    Describing the significance of the historical event, Benjamin Netanyahu said:

    Exactly 100 years ago brave Anzac Soldiers liberated Beersheba for the sons and daughters of Abraham and opened the gateway for the Jewish people to re-enter this stage of history…brave soldiers who are buried here played a crucial role in defeating the Ottoman Empire, liberating the Holy Land and ending 400 years of Ottoman rule in one great dash.1

    Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull added:

    It did not create the state of Israel but enabled its creation...They defied history.  They made history and with their courage they fulfilled history.2

    Immediately after the srevice, the dignitaries opened a new ANZAC museum adjacent to the cemetery.  Following this, the band led a parade of the horses through the streets lined with thousands of flag-waving school children, Israelis and overseas visitors.  A contingent of aborigines represented their forefathers who served in the ANZAC troops and were enthusiastically welcomed and honoured by the crowds. 

    The official party then drove up to Tel Be’er Sheva where there was a New Zealand commemoration and a new monument was opened to remember the soldiers who fought to capture this strategic, ancient tel. 

    Almost at the exact time of the charge, the re-enactment ceremony began.  The 100 horses walked the distance ‘in peace’ for the Prime Ministers, followed shortly after by a gallop from a smaller group, much to the delight of the thousands who filled the stands. 

    The day finished with a service at the Park of the Australian soldier.  Here is a short You tube clip summary of the day’s events. https://youtu.be/6Cf7Fj5jnrw

  • The addresses by PM Benjamin Netanyahu & PM Malcolm Turnbull at the ceremony at Beersheba War Cemetery 31 October 2017. (22 minutes).          

    https://youtu.be/EEDdgs3GFdc

  • The entire service at the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery Oct 31, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX5QedBaS_0

  • New Zealand service at Tel Be'er Sheva on Oct 31, 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpE360nIJwo&feature=youtu.be

 

Semakh

Largely due to the vision of Ziv Ophir of Kinneret College, which is located around the site of Semakh, the government has reconstructed the damaged station, restored the surrounding buildings and continues the memory of these gallant soldiers. At the restored station, they have erected a memorial plaque telling the story of the capture and listing the names of those killed, which was presented by members of the Australian Light Horse Association. A ceremony was held in 2017 with band, horsemen and other local and overseas visitors.  Here is a link to the commemorations: https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-israel-descendants-of-aboriginal-anzac-soldiers-retrace-forgotten-stories/ and https://youtu.be/FQTOYCq_RlU. A visitors’ centre with a multi-media presentation was opened in 2017 and there are plans for a statue of an Aboriginal soldier on horseback, to remember the aboriginal involvement in this battle and more commemorations are planned for the 100th anniversary in 2018.  

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Other Memorials

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  • The Turkish railway station from WW1 has been renovated and is open to visitors.
  • The Jewish National Fund has developed a heritage trail along the ANZAC routes in southern Israel, which is accessible by horseback, car or bus.

 

 

 

 

Pictures:

  1. Beersheba 90th anniversary celebrations – Jill Curry
  2. Ceremony for the opening of the Light Horse Memorial monument at Semakh, 2012 – Jill Curry
  3. ANZAC Monument, Semakh – Jill Curry
  4. Ziv Ophir explains about the Semakh railway station (behind) – Jill Curry
  5. Be’er Sheva station – Jill Curry