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What we were talking about this week…

A reflection on the Declaration of Independence


Zionist Federation of Australia President Dr. Danny Lamm AM was asked by the Australian Jewish News to give his thoughts on the Declaration of Independence ahead of Israel’s 70th Birthday:

“Israel’s Declaration of Independence is the most important document in the beautiful narrative that is the story of its rebirth.

It is a stunning document of that exact moment of time, after the horrors of the Holocaust and on the cusp of Statehood, which laid out what our earlier leaders hoped to accomplish for the fledgling and endangered Jewish state.

Looking back, it is phenomenal to see how much has been accomplished – a State that is strong, proud and viable. A country that was a safe haven for Jews from around the world and not just a safe haven – but a home. A country that laid out strong foundations about the right of return, about peace and defence, about culture and economy, about co-existence, language and education.

Notwithstanding the nations that deny it the very right to exist, Israel has certainly cemented its place in the world, it is the master of its own fate. While we do have to respond to detractors around the world – including in official institutions like the UN – we ultimately decide what happens to us.

I hope the day will come soon when Israel no longer faces an existential threat and can enjoy the benefits of being a fully privileged member of the community of nations, free from the threat of annihilation.

In 1948 the authors of the declaration spoke about an age-old dream, in poetic and actual terms. In 2018, after 70 years, the dream has become a living and breathing reality, a work in process, a source of pride, aspiration and inspiration.”

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Hamas terror tunnels 

“Residents of Gaza – Hamas is burning your money on tunnels leading to nowhere”.

Above the ground, Hamas has been working hard protesting against Israel along the Gazan border, coming up with new tactics each week such as attaching firebombs to kites, but below the ground, it is the same old terror tactics.

Yesterday, it was revealed that another terror tunnel had been found and destroyed. The tunnel encroached on Israeli territory just metres from the border where the protesters have been rioting over the last few weeks, On the Gazan side, the tunnel connected to a chain of other tunnels and was considered of a high quality.

Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman said, “We have opened the week with an impressive intelligence and operational achievement with the destruction of another tunnel – the longest and deepest so far. Millions of dollars were invested in its excavation, money that would have been better served mitigating the plight of residents has now sunk into the sand. Residents of Gaza – Hamas is burning your money on tunnels leading to nowhere. We will get them all.”

An IDF spokesperson linked the events above and below the ground stating, “Hamas has been working over the past few months—and with added vigor over the past few weeks—to turn the fence area into a warzone and terror zone…The violent riots in the vicinity are merely a pretext for attempts at carrying out attacks both above and below ground. The IDF will not allow Israel’s citizens to come to harm or its sovereignty compromised and will continue working adamantly against terror of any sort.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if Hamas took the millions it spends on their terror machine and put it into something worthwhile for the residents of Gaza?

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Praise for the Australian newspaper

Ordinarily I am quite critical of the the media for their coverage on Israel, but I always like to give credit where credit is due and The Australian newspaper has had some fantastic articles and editorials about Israel over the last few days that are very worthy of our praise.

Israel warns Iran: leave Syria” – An in-depth and wide-ranging interview with Israel’s Ambassador to Australia, Mark Sofer.
Israel innovation nation – a miracle shaped from the desert” – a must-read piece by Bruce Loudon.
Celebrating Israel’s resilience” – Today’s Editorial

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Reclaim the “Z” word

AUJS has launched a new campaign  – “Reclaim the Z Word”.

The idea came from the fact that all too often, people hesitate to use, discuss or identify with the “Z” word, particularly on university campus — “it doesn’t poll well”, “it’s uncomfortable”, “we’d better not”…..

In many cases, this reluctance can be attributed to certain stigmas which have attached to the word, as well as general misunderstandings and a lack of knowledge.

AUJS has chosen to challenge that –

Part 1 – The “Z” Word – The Big Questions

Click to view video

What is Zionism?
Why the Land of Israel?
What is Jewish Nationhood?

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Getting ready for the US Embassy in Jerusalem

This is exciting!

The street signs for the US Embassy in Jerusalem are ready to go up ahead of the Embassy move on May 14!

They’ll be busy over there at the sign-making factory with Guatemala opening their Embassy in Jerusalem two days after the US on May 16.

And Romania has announced they will be moving their Embassy to Jerusalem following a decision made on Wednesday night.

Who will be next?

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Yom Hazikaron 

On Yom Hazikaron we commemorated Israel’s 23,646 fallen soldiers and 3,134 victims of terror. Here, we share just a few of those stories.

Adele Biton died in 2015, two years after being critically wounded when the car she was travelling in was hit by a truck that swerved to avoid a barrage of rocks being thrown by Palestinians. She was just four years and eight months old at the time of her death. Ahead of Yom Hazikaron tomorrow, her mother Adva penned her the following letter:

“Dear Adeli,

I am writing to you in longing, with tears in my eyes. The words are getting confused, and I feel suffocated. What is the connection between a girl aged four and eight months and Yom Hazikaron, I ask myself? Here in Israel we have unfortunately become accosted to commemorating the memory of young soldiers. But you, my little baby, you have arrived there in an even shorter time.

Even when you were a baby, we were exposed to the energies that lay within you, to the wisdom, to the knowing, and to the joy of life. It was clear to me that you weresomething special. That you came to our world to shake, stir and make a change. You fought valiantly and stubbornly the entire way. How I longed for a different ending. How I imagined your sweet voice, calling me mum again, the strong hug, the playful leap straight into my arms. Instead, we had to accept other hugs from the masses who came to console us.

That terrible day, when we had to bury you in the ground, cannot be forgotten. Lost and miserable, stunned and hurt, we stayed here, crying for you. This is how we will be to the end of days. Just know that we never really parted. I will never forget your great smile, the light of your face. I would have paid a heavy price, I was ready to end my own life, only so that you would know what you were for me while you werealive, and what you would be for me forever. How much influence you had over me in your life, you taught me so much about myself, you revealed my abilities. I thank you for choosing me as your mother.

Every time I learn that life is a race full of hurdles, I am determined to keep jumping over them, even if in our case they are higher. Be sure that I do my best to keep you in mind. The Adele Foundation, which was established in your memory, helps those who have suffered a tragic loss, to those who are hurt, those who are crushed, and thank g-d, it gives a lot of strength.

I hold onto my memories, clinging to your captivating gaze. Know that we did not give up. Our family, thank god is happy and developing. Your spirit and memory leaves us with our head up and with great pride.

With a painful heart full of longing,


May the memory of sweet Adele Biton be forever blessed.

יהי זכרה ברוך

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Michael (Miki) Katz z”l, who killed along with 72 other soldiers in the helicopter disaster in 1997.

Before his army service, Miki spent four months on a religious Kibbutz in Ma’ale Gilboa, where he left a huge wall painting in his room as a farewell present to his friends.

The painting shows a soldier in his knees, wounded in the chest and a hole in his helmet, looking up at a helicopter which is about to crash. At the top of the painting was the words “Why?!” with tears falling from the letters. An eerie foreshadowing…

When Miki died, the mural became a memorial for him. In 2015, the building where his mural remained was about to be renovated, and not wanting his mural to be destroyed, students of the Yeshiva came together to have that part of the wall removed and taken to another memorial site for Miki.

May Miki’s memory, and the memory of the 72 other soldiers who were killed in the helicopter disaster, be forever blessed.

יהי זכרם ברוך

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This video is so heartbreaking it was actually difficult to watch.

Reut Salomon’s father Elad was stabbed to death along with his sister Chaya and father Yosef by a Palestinian terrorist who entered their house on a Friday evening after they had finished their Shabbat meal last July.

Reut’s mother gathered their children and took them upstairs, holding the door shut with all of her might.

I cannot even begin to imagine what this family has been through.

But showing incredible courage, in this the first Yom Hazikaron since her father was murdered, she remembered him on stage and spoke directly to him in a moving speech which has had us in tears.

Click here to watch the video

Reut – may you and your family know no more sorrow. And may the memory of Elad, Chaya, Yosef and all of Israel’s victims of terror be forever blessed.

יהי זכרם ברוך

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