Kelly keynotes at NAJEX event

Mike Kelly addressing NAJEX’s ANZAC commemoration event. Photo: Noel Kessel

ALMOST 200 people attended the NSW Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen & Women’s (NAJEX) commemorative Anzac event at the Sydney Jewish Museum earlier this month.

Former Federal MP and retired colonel Mike Kelly delivered the keynote address at the ceremony.

Kelly first spoke to the audience about the contribution of Jewish soldiers to Australia.

“I wanted to pay tribute to NAJEX and the history of the Jewish community’s service to the country that followed through with the solider I regard as Australia’s finest, General Sir John Monash … people like General Cullen in World War II, all the way through to Private Greg Sher who lost his life in Afghanistan,” Kelly later told The AJN.

Kelly also described how the Anzacs and the Zion Mule Corps served together in Turkey, “where our relationship started to be forged, and forged in blood with the Gallipoli campaign”.

Various members of Kelly’s own family served in Palestine in both World War I and World War II, and, during the course of both wars, Kelly told audiences that “a very close bond built up” between Australian and Jewish soldiers.

“That experience forced the Australian governments – of Ben Chifley and Doc Evatt – to solidly support and act as a partner in delivering the state of Israel,” Kelly relayed to The AJN.

Finally, Kelly drew on the recent cooperation between the Australian and Israeli armies: “It has been an increasingly close relationship and now we’re facing this common threat of Islamist extremism.”

Reflecting on the evening, Kelly told The AJN, “It was such an enormous privilege and honour to be invited to an organisation which represents such a proud history and tradition of this country to service to our nation and sacrifice.”

Also in attendance at the ceremony were Scott Farlow MLC, Greg Donnelly MLC, deputy mayor of Waverley Council Tony Kay, Federal president of Returned and Services League (RSL) Rear Admiral Ken Doolan, RSL NSW CEO Glenn Kolomeitz, and Jewish community leaders and representatives.

The Last Post was played by former Moriah College student Lewis Orner.

ELENORE LEVI