Ambassador meets Community Leaders in Sydney

December 9, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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Israel’s new ambassador to Australia, who has presented his credentials to Governor-General Quentin Bryce, has met community leaders in Sydney.


Robert Goot ECAJ, Richard Balkin SZCNSW, AMbassador Shmuel Ben-Shmuel and Peter Wertheim ECAJ    photo: Nadine Saaccks

Robert Goot ECAJ, Richard Balkin ZCNSW, Ambassador Shmuel Ben-Shmuel and Peter Wertheim ECAJ                           photos: Nadine Saacks


Sagi ben-Yosef UIA, Richard Balkin ZCNSW, Yair Miller NSWJBD and Alex Abulafia JNF

Sagi ben-Yosef UIA, Richard Balkin ZCNSW, Yair Miller NSWJBD and Alex Abulafia JNF


On the morning of Tuesday 3 December 2013, His Excellency Ambassador Shmuel Ben-Shmuel visited Government House and presented Her Excellency The Honourable Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia, with Letters of Credence from President Shimon Peres accrediting him as Ambassador of Israel to Australia.

The presentation and acceptance of credentials is the final formal step in the appointment of the career diplomat as Ambassador of Israel to Australia and Head of Mission in Canberra. Ambassador Ben-Shmuel arrived in Australia on the 16th of October and replaces Ambassador Yuval Rotem, who served in Canberra from 2007-2013.

Ambassador Ben-Shmuel was conveyed to Government House in a 1969 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI, which is the State Car of the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. His ceremony was attended dignitaries from Government House, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Embassy of Israel.

Ben-Shmuel was the first of four new envoys to present credentials to the Governor General. In subsequent ceremonies H.E. Mr Arega Hailu Teffera (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia), H.E. Dr Igor Bartho (Slovak Republic) and H.E. Dr Sabri Kiqmari (Republic of Kosovo) were accepted as representatives of their respective countries. The Governor-General and Mr Bryce then hosted a reception to welcome the new ambassadors.

At a morning tea at the Ambassador’s Residence to celebrate the occasion, Ben-Shmuel said “Relations between Australia and Israel are moving from strength to strength. I look forward to building upon a strong and impressive base to something even greater”.

Ambassador Ben-Shmuel is expected to present his credentials as Non-Resident Ambassador to the Heads of State of Fiji and Papua New Guinea shortly.



Rabbi Shmueli Feldman stands by as Ambassador Shmuel Ben-Shmuel attaches a mezuzah    Photo: Sylvia Deutsch

Rabbi Shmueli Feldman stands by as Ambassador Shmuel Ben-Shmuel attaches a mezuzah Photo: Sylvia Deutsch


Following the presentation, Rabbi Shmueli Feldman of the ACT Chabad spoke at a function at he Israel Embassy at which he attached a mezuzah to the new ambassador’s residence.

Rabbi Feldman said: “Today, we are heeding the biblical commandment of consecrating this unique residence by installing additional mezuzot on the doors.

In the Mezuza case is a parchment with the most powerful message of faith from the Bible inked onto it with the traditional quill by a qualified scribe. The message is Shema Yisroel Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad – the pinnacle of all Jewish prayers recognising G-d as the Master of the Universe and His looking out for our best no matter how things may look from our limited perspective.

On a spiritual level the significance of this Mitzvah is that it adds an additional dimension of protection to all those who enter. According to Jewish tradition when we walk through the door we kiss the Mezuzah creating an awareness that we are never alone. It is vital that Mezuzot are regularly checked to ensure they remain undamaged and thus Kosher.

There have also been many stories of people who have experienced physical hardships and upon rectifying or installing their Mezuzot experienced miraculous salvations.

It is by Divine Providence and indeed quite compelling that we are consecrating this residence and celebrating a new Ambassador during the Jewish festival of Chanukah.

Chanukah in Hebrew means Consecration. It was 2100 years ago when the Jewish people reclaimed their homeland – Israel – after a miraculously victorious battle against the superpower at that time, the Assyrian Greeks who had banned the observance of Judaism.

When the Jews returned to their Holy temple in Jerusalem (the Western Wall of which still stands today and remains the holiest place for the Jewish people,) they saw the aftermath of how the Hellenistic Greeks defiled the Temple with their pagan gods. The temple had to be reconsecrated and the Menorah was once again lit. There was the additional miracle that even though they only had enough oil for 1 day the oil burned for 8 days until new oil was able to be made.

The Menorah is the official Symbol of the Israeli Knesset and of the Israeli Embassies worldwide. What the Menorah represents is the hope and courage with which we have lived and died by that no matter what happens we remain steadfast in our belief in the message of Shema Yisrael – G-d is watching over us and protecting us. The Menorah represents the freedom that the Jewish people have fought, prayed and dreamt about for millennia.

So it is with this message I bless the new Ambassador to go with G-d’s protection maychayil el chayil – from strength to strength. G-d is with you for your vital mission and YOU too have the power to achieve miraculous successes and victories. May you carry this eternal message of freedom and hope to all those you encounter, with good health, happiness and open and revealed blessings from G-d’s outstretched hand.”


Federal MP Mark Dreyfus attended the Canberra function.












2 Responses to “Ambassador meets Community Leaders in Sydney”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    What an excellent and inspiring career you’ve had in journalism, Halina. Thank you for sharing it with J-Wire subscribers. I found it both interesting and inspiring to read about, especially when one considers the times you have lived through during your work.

  2. Halina says:

    I just want to thank J-Wire for variety of information succinct and usually pleasantly short. If I have no time to read a lot of material coming to my inbox, I never left any of the J-Wire bits unread. Often I am reading as well some additions listed as the ends of the articles. I am a very aged retired journalist. Was a member of main journalist associations in three countries in which I have lived and worked. Poland, where I started as a broadcaster in ‘Polskie Radio’ in Warsaw when I was still a student at the university, Israel where I was overwhelmed with pride and pleasure when I received an info that a long conversation about situation of media in Warsaw in 1957 was in fact an interview which granted me a status of a member of the Polish language section by writing to the two daily newspapers issued in the polish language until my Hebrew will be good enough to write for the Hebrew publications. I had issued an International Press Card in Australia allowing me to cover the 50-th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1993 in Warsaw, and until my retirement in the same year broadcasted in SBS radio since its origination. I am finding many very interesting contacts through the J-Wire. Wish you many years of serving our community in your excellent way.

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