Mofaz visits Canberra
Lt Gen (Ret) Shaul Mofaz, Israel’s former Deputy Prime Minister, Defence Minister and IDF Chief of Staff has visited Canberra where he met the Australian Ministers of Defence, Senator Marise Payne and Veterans Affairs, Dan Tehan.
At the meeting, views were exchanged on a range of issues, including current conflicts across the Middle East, the future shape of ISIS and global terrorism, the harmonisation of international and domestic law to deal with these threats and cyber security initiatives. The Australian Government’s longstanding and deep support for Israel was re-affirmed by Minister Payne, as well as the shared values between both countries.
Mofaz was accompanied on his Canberra visit with JNF Australia CEO Dan Springer and Victorian JNF President Helen Shardey.
Mofaz is currently visiting Australia as a guest of the JNF speaking during its annual national campaign to sold out audiences in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth about a range of challenges facing Israel and the West and sharing some personal experiences from a career defending his country, including the heroic mission to free hostages from Entebbe.
In recognising the long history of these ties, Minister Tehan acknowledged the Battle of Beersheba on October 31st 1917, when Australian Light Horsemen charged on the Turkish defences, liberating the city and later the region from the Ottoman Empire. The Australian Government will be sending a high level delegation to Beersheba next year to commemorate the centenary of this battle and to officially open the ANZAC Centre that is being built there by the JNF.
Dan Springer updated the Ministers on the ANZAC Centre’s progress, which is being built on the site of the Beersheba War Cemetery and acknowledged the letter of support for this project from Prime Minister Turnbull that was received earlier in the year. The cemetery is owned by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which was established in 1917, has 6 member governments and is headquartered in London. Springer noted that this was the first time that the Commission, which owns thousands of thousands of cemeteries and memorial sites around the world, had agreed to the construction of a building on one of its locations and involved a significant lobbying effort by the JNF, with the support of Australia’s Ambassador to Israel, the Australian War Memorial and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Mofaz also acknowledged the history of Beersheba and emphasised its current importance as the strategic hub for Israel’s South, the shift of key IDF units to the region and the growing nucleus of IT companies, R&D operations and cyber security start-ups that are forming there. Mofaz further recognised the key role of the JNF in developing the region and ensuring the sustainability of communities throughout the Negev, vital for Israel’s future.
JNF has also arranged a series of private meetings for Mofaz with political and business leaders.
The JNF is organising an ANZAC Centenary Mission to Israel from October 23 – November 2, 2017 that will include a re-enactment of the Beersheba Light Horse Charge and a tour of special sites across the country from North to South. For more information please call the JNF office on (02) 9386 9559, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.jnf.org.au/anzac-tour-2017/