Hundreds of Australian guests came to Israel to honor the 100th anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) conquest of Beersheva from the Turks during World War One.
The Australians are here to travel around Israel in the footsteps of the ANZAC soldiers and to mark the occasion with special ceremonies. On Monday, October 23, the first major commemorative event took place at Tzemah in the Jordan Valley, the site conquered by the ANZAC soldiers in 1918.
Among the many guests was the 80-strong JNF Australia delegation, including friends, partners and leadership, along with history buffs interested in the ANZAC military heritage. During their two-week visit, they will be visiting the sites where the ANZAC soldiers fought, as well as social, agricultural and environmental projects built with the support of friends of KKL-JNF in Australia, highlighting their role in the development of Israel.
The culmination of the visit will take place in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and visiting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on October 31, which is ANZAC Day. The event will include a re-enactment of the ANZAC Mounted Cavalry charge
to conquer Beersheva and a grand ceremony dedicating the ANZAC Memorial Center in Beersheva
built with the support of JNF Australia. The new museum will tell the stories of the valiant soldiers who took part in the battle to wrest the land of Israel from the hands of the Turks during World War I.
On the first day of the Australian delegation’s visit, a central ceremony took place at Tzemah, the site where the ANZAC soldiers fought and ultimately conquered in September 1918. At the time, Tzemah was a base for the Turkish-German army and a focus of the battles between the Turkish and British soldiers, due to the site’s importance as a road and train junction. On September 25, 1918, the battle for Tzemah was waged, during which the town and the railroad stations were captured by the Australian Light Horse Brigade of the British Army.
“We are walking in the footsteps of the soldiers and honoring their victories in the important battles in the fight for the land of Israel,” said Peter Smaller, the President of JNF Australia
. “All along the way, we are paying our respects to the brave soldiers who fought here, some of whom paid with their lives. The different stations along the ANZAC trail
tell the story of these brave men for future generations.”
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The Australian Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Chris Cannan, represented the Australian government at the ceremony. “Australian’s involvement in this region, in the past and at the present time, is one of the reasons that Australia is appreciated by its friends throughout the world,” the Ambassador said.Read more about the embarking of the ANZAC Centenary Mission