Brisbane community unites at UIA Gala Dinner to celebrate Israel’s 70th

March 22, 2018 by Jenna Chaitowitz
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UIA Queensland hosted 120 Brisbane supporters at its 2018 Gala Dinner on 18 March to celebrate Israel’s 70th anniversary.

Guest speakers Ambassador Belaynesh Zevadia and Ambassador Dave Sharma headlined the event.

Ambassador Belaynesh Zevadia is the first Ethiopian Olah to become an Ambassador representing Israel. Born in Ambober, Ethiopia, Zevadia made Aliyah at 16 years old, graduating with a BA and MA from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She was appointed as an Ambassador in 2012, after serving in Israel Consulate posts in America.

Zevadia spoke about her life story and transformation from a 16-year-old Olah from a village without water and electricity, to becoming Israel’s first Ethiopian-born Ambassador. She described how the UIA had been a part of almost every step of her journey and enabled her success.

The Gala Event also included a presentation by Ambassador Dave Sharma, who served as Australia’s Ambassador to Israel from 2013 to 2017. This period of time coincided with some of the busiest and most productive years for the Australia-Israel relationship, with trade, investment and innovation ties strengthened. Sharma’s leadership and diplomacy delivered numerous achievements for Australia, including securing privileged access for Australia into Israel’s start-up economy, improved air linkages, better visa products, negotiations to eliminate double taxation and the launch of the Tel Aviv Landing Pad.

Sharma recalled stories from his time in Israel, the things he missed most about living in Israel and his views on the region. He addressed his current outlook on the geopolitical situation and the importance of the UIA’s work in strengthening ties with Israel.

UIA NSW CEO Yair Miller, who chaired the event said: “Brisbane’s event is always wonderful with the strong community there, and it is particularly heartwarming to have many Christian Zionist friends joining us too.”

To donate to UIA QLD’s 2018 Campaign, please visit


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