Negev Forest Dedicated in Memory of Sir Zelman Cowen.
(photo credit: KKL)
Negev Forest Dedicated in Memory of Sir Zelman Cowen
On Sunday, November 1st, a forest near Nachal Assaf in the Western Negev was dedicated in honor of Sir Zelman Cowen, the Governer-General of Australia from 1977 to 1982. The ceremony was attended by KKL-JNF Vice Chairman Gael Grunewald, Alex McCauley of the Australian Embassy in Israel, and two of Sir Zelman's sons, Rabbi Yosef Zvi Cowen and Ben Cowen.
Zelman Cowen was born in Melbourne in 1919. He served in the Royal Australian Navy during World War II and then went as a Rhodes Scholar to New College, Oxford, where he completed a Bachelor of Civil Law degree and jointly won the Vinerian Scholarship. In 1951, Cowen became Dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Melbourne, a post he held until 1966. When Sir John Kerr's turbulent period of office as Governor-General ended with his early resignation in 1977, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, offered Cowen the post. He served four and a half years as Governor-General, from December 1977 to July 1982.
"Sir Zelman Cowen led his entire life as a proud Jew," KKL-JNF Vice Chairman Gael Grunewald said at the ceremony, "and the Cowens had a firm connection with the Land of Israel. After completing his term of office as Governor-General, Sir Zelman used to visit Israel frequently, as he was a member of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University and the chair of the Van Leer Institute. It is a great honor for me, as Deputy Chairman of KKL-JNF, to pay respect to Sir Zelman’s memory. The forest dedicated in his honor attests not only to the great deeds of Sir Zelman in the past, but also points to the flourishing of his legacy and family."
Sir Zelman's son, Rabbi Yosef Zvi Cowen quoted tractate Sanhedrin from the Talmud, which says that when the land of Israel flourishes, it is a sign that redemption is imminent. "The family is very glad that our father's memory is perpetuated here, in a forest in Israel's Negev, where the desert is being greened."