Yom Ha’azmaut in Canberra

April 21, 2018 by Yvette Goode
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The ACT Zionist Council, together with the ACT Jewish Community, celebrated Israel’s 70th Anniversary with a wonderful exhibition entitled 70 SNAPSHOTS FOR 70 YEARS.

Yvette Goode reports:



Federal MP Mike Kelly and his wife Rachelle

Many colourful pictures and exhibits, with brief explanations, decorated the Hall in the ACTJC. The philosophy behind the exhibition was a profound love and belief in the existence of Israel and that Jews should have freedom in their own land. In curating the displays, the celebration of the modern miracle that is Israel was clearly evident.

Hillel and Amog Zoosman Lehman

We know that Israel is surrounded by Muslim countries and has had to fight hard in its brief modern history, but the peace treaties between Egypt and Jordan prove that peace with neighbours is possible. As time passes, Israel is improving relationships with more countries in the Middle East and beyond. The fact that Israel is often among the first responders to disasters, such as the SE Asian Tsunami in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Haiti in 2010, Fukushima in 2011 and other cyclones and earthquakes, is living proof that Israelis are committed to making the world a better place in which to live.

There are so many facets to the modern State of Israel that choosing just 70 to highlight is a challenge in itself. The areas selected from which to pick these powerful symbols of achievement were the leaders, the strong women, archaeological finds, innovations, geo-political moments, international contributions, sounds, cultural groups, Israeli titbits and landscapes. Of course there is some cross over amongst several of these areas.

Daniel Coppel

The modern State of Israel has had prominent and significant leaders from the start, all of them trailblazers in their own way. While some countries kept their women in the background, and still do, women in Israel from the beginning have become leaders in many fields, such as politics, science, technology and the law. Golda Meir was one such woman as she stepped upon first the national and then the international stage.

We know the stories of the Bible well, but in the last 70 years archaeologists have made monumental discoveries as they continue to excavate historical sites. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls,  excavations at Masada, the City of David, Beit She’an, Herodion, and the Temple Mount are just a few of the places that have revealed amazing secrets of Jewish life from previous centuries, making the history behind the Bible stories entirely more credible.

Perhaps the most impressive area of modern Israel is the number of innovations that have transformed Israel and are now helping change lives world-wide. These advances cover many fields of science, technology, medicine, agriculture, cyber

Yael Cass

security and computer science, to name just a small number. Drip Irrigation, the USB Flash Drive, Quantum Optics, A. I. and Cancer Research are just a few areas in which amazing progress is continuing to be made. Another brilliant medical research field is in the treatment of Parkinson’s and other neuro-degenerative diseases.

The cultural make up of Israel is like a rich tapestry, with people of many faiths. It is a unique and beautiful place, from the lush green of the north, to the harsh desert of the south, and the richness of the seas and mountains in between. All of this and more was celebrated in the 70 Snapshots. The two songs we sang together, Al Kol Eleh, and Yerushala’im Shel Zahav, both speak of the sights, smells and sounds of Israel and the deep love of the land.

In showing appreciation for our attendance, Daniel Coppel, the head of the ACT Zionist Council, thanked all those who had helped make the celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday such a success, including the two wonderful Shlichim, Hillel and Almog Lehman. Being able to celebrate such an important day while away from home and family was quite emotional for them, but they ensured we would all feel the joy of the day, with a lavish Israeli style supper and Israeli music.

Ultimately, the exhibition reminded us of the special place Israel has in our hearts and the love and pride we feel as Jews for our ancestral homeland.

Photos by Bill Arnold

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