Honouring our Anzacs

Australian Light Horse riders re-enact the historical charge of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at KKL-JNF’s Beit Eshel site in Nahal Beersheva Park.

WITH this year marking the centenary of the charge of the Australian Light Horse Brigade at Beersheva, the NSW Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen & Women (NAJEX) has turned the focus to Israel for its annual commemoration of Anzac Day.

Guest speaker will be Kelvin Crombie, author of Gallipoli – the Road to Jerusalem. Crombie grew up on a farm in rural Western Australia listening to stories of the Anzacs from his uncles, former Australian infantrymen who served in the Middle East during the Second World War. His next door neighbours were Israeli, which furthered his interest in the region.

Crombie moved to Israel in 1979, where he lived for 25 years. His latest book explores the Dardanelles Campaign that was pivotal in the formation of the modern Middle East, as it ultimately resulted in the collapse of the 400-year-old Ottoman Empire and establishment of the Arab nations of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia – and the Jewish state of Israel.

Crombie has dedicated his life to studying the history of the Australian involvement in the  Middle East, writing several books and producing multiple documentaries on the subject. 

As a result of his intimate knowledge of the Anzac role in Israel’s history, Crombie was one of the main organisers for the 2007 and 2012 re-enactments of the charge of the Light Horse events in Beersheva, and is actively involved in this year’s 100th anniversary event.

This year also marks the 35th anniversary of the death of Lieutenant Danny Goldberg and the 11th anniversary of the death of Assaf Namer. Both were dual citizens of Australia and Israel and the sacrifice they made in defending Israel will also be honoured at the NAJEX event.

The ceremony will be followed by a visit to the temporary exhibition at the Sydney Jewish Museum that chronicles the Anzac trail and the history of the Australian campaign in Palestine in World War I, based on diaries kept by two Australian soldiers.

The commemoration is at the Sydney Jewish Museum, 140-148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst, at 9.30am on Sunday, April 30. 

YAEL BRENDER