Australian soldiers prior to ANZAC ceremony 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom)
For Australians and New Zealanders living in or visiting Israel, there will be
two remembrance days this year for fallen soldiers and victims of
Preceding this year’s Remembrance Day was Australian and New
Zealand Army Corp Day, which is usually commemorated on April 25, but was
brought forward a day in Israel so as not to clash with the nation’s day of
The ANZAC Day ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery
in Jerusalem on Tuesday had one of the largest attendances on record, including
various groups from Australia and New Zealand who were either part of organized
solidarity missions or participants in some half-dozen volunteer programs
throughout the country.
According to Paul Israel – the executive director
of the Israel Australia Chamber of Commerce – the influx of visiting dignitaries
and trade delegations from Australia coupled with missions from organizations
such as the Jewish National Fund and the United Israel Appeal, among others, has
taken on avalanche proportions, with new groups arriving every few
Although ANZAC Day specifically commemorates the ill-fated landing
of Australian and New Zealand troops in Gallipoli in 1915, the ceremony also
encompasses all other battles and wars in which Australians and New Zealanders
made the supreme sacrifice.
Rabbi Raymond Apple, the former senior rabbi
of the Australian Defense Forces, noted that for the first time that he could
remember, memorial tributes of Israeli flags, flowers and candles had been
placed by the headstones of the Jewish graves, symbolizing the linkage among
ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day and Independence Day. The IDF and the Association of
Working and Student Youth had put the tributes on the graves.
Ambassador Andrea Faulkner, who attended the Jewish service along with Canadian
Ambassador Paul Hunt, noted in her address at the general service that
Australian and New Zealand forces had a long history of involvement in this part
of the world, and remained very much involved in the region. She cited as
examples Australian and New Zealand troop commitments in Afghanistan and across
the Middle East, including those serving with the Multinational Force and
Observers and the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization
“We have many, too many opportunities to consider the realities
of conflict,” said Faulkner, who commented that ANZAC Day gave Australians and
New Zealanders time to remember and reflect, to grieve, to pay respects and to
She observed that this year marked the 95th anniversary of the
Palestine campaign, including the famous charge of the Australian Light Horse
Brigade in Beersheba, which heralded the defeat of the Turkish army.
Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Jerusalem is one of several in the region,
the final resting places of soldiers from Commonwealth Armies who are buried far
from home and their loved ones.
There is no Turkish ambassador in Israel,
but a diplomat represented the Turkish Embassy. Most other embassies had
military attaches representing them, and New Zealand, which does not have an
embassy or consulate in Israel, was represented by Honorary New Zealand Consul