The importance of Yom Ha’azmaut and Yom Hazikaron

April 7, 2010 by Danny Lamm
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Israel has entered the new decade with challenges on so many fronts. The geographical challenge remains – Israel is surrounded by traditional enemies who have one common motivation, the annihilation of the State of Israel.

danny lamm

Dr Danny Lamm

Terrorist rocket fire from Gaza into Israel has recommenced and Israeli families yet again face the terror from the south. Israel continues to be in defensive mode from the threat of Hezbollah in the north or a more deadly nuclear threat from Iran.

But Israel faces a new tactic, one which her adversaries are successfully prosecuting without fear of censure or condemnation. This new strategy, whilst not as physically threatening as bombs or missiles, is every bit as pernicious to Israel’s existence as the strategies of violence and terror. The intended delegitimisation of the State of Israel is occurring across the globe, through the internet, in diplomatic circles, media and even through the arts. Its very aim is to undermine the right of the State of Israel to exist, and its proponents are well resourced and active in their demonization of Israel.

This war of words has no borders. Its battles are being fought in our very own homes and offices – on campuses around Australia, on our televisions, radio and newspapers. Effective campaigns attracting public attention have been waged at Melbourne train stations and in Melbourne theatres. We face a situation where the “default option” for many people, influenced by the anti-Israel messages, is to condemn Israel rather than defend her right to exist.

So how do we, concerned and committed Jews in Melbourne, Australia, help to combat such a campaign?

Of course, Israel advocacy is the first line of defence. As I’ve often said, advocacy is not the sole domain of the community’s elected leaders, nor is it something restricted to one or other side of politics. We who love Israel can all be effective advocates, whether that’s at home, at work, on campus or in the public arena.

This is the time when Israel’s friends have to come to the fore. We are Israel’s friends. As Australians and as Jews, we value the relationship that Australia and Israel have always shared, from Beersheva in 1918, to the now legendary vote of Australia in 1947, the first nation to vote for the establishment of the State of Israel in the UN. Last year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut concert celebrated the values shared by Australia and Israel, highlighting links in culture, values, trade and technology.

We can all do our best to encourage and enhance friendship for Israel, among our families, our colleagues, in the media and among business and political leaders. However, we can only do so if we demonstrate by example and first and foremost, that means being at the forefront of all public manifestations of support for Israel.

Our community’s major public events are spearheaded by our annual commemoration of Yom Hazikaron and celebrations of Yom Ha’atzmaut. So attending Yom Hazikaron and crying with the bereaved families is important for us as individuals, linking us to Israel’s history and continuing story. Celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut at the community’s concert celebration is not only a very enjoyable way to spend an evening, but also a tangible and effective way of showing that you support Israel, that together, united, we support Israel.

Melbourne’s events will be mirrored not only in other states of Australia, but of course around the world. This message of solidarity and support is a global one and one which will resonate widely – demonstrating to Israel that we support her, and to the world that this support is strong and vital.

In times like this, we need not only to care about Israel, to love Israel, but we also need to be obvious in that commitment. We need to stand up and be counted among Israel’s supporters. No matter how many detractors come forward, we are here, we support Israel, we are proud Zionists.

The Zionist Council of Victoria will present the community’s Yom Hazikaron Commemoration on Sunday 18 April, 2010 at Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Clayton Campus  – admission free at the door; and the Yom Ha’atzmaut concert on Monday 19 April, 2010 at the Arts Centre, Hamer Hall (tickets – www.theartscentre.com.au or 1300 182 183 or at the door).

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