Published on : 11/16/2017
By : Arista Asmawati
On the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the British conquest of the Land of Israel during the First World War, a ceremony to mark both these historic events was held in Azrikam Forest in the northern Negev.
The ceremony was held on November 10th, the very date on which fighting broke out in the region of Kiryat Malachi and Ashdod and culminated in its being wrested from the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Members of the Australian Light Horse Brigade took part in the battle together with British Army soldiers from Scotland and Nepal.
“This site encapsulates stories from the past that are important for the younger generation to know,” said Beer Tuvia Regional Council Chairman Dror Schor. “The area has seen a great many battles over the years, and we hope that it will know no more strife in the future.”
KKL-JNF was represented at the ceremony by Ami Uliel, Director of the organization’s Southern Region, who reminded those present that KKL-JNF was founded in 1901- sixteen years before the Balfour Declaration. “At the time KKL-JNF was acquiring land to settle Jews in the Land of Israel, and there can be no doubt that this, too, contributed significantly to the rebirth of the Jewish nation in its homeland,” he said, before adding: “Today we are celebrating together with the forest’s active community a central event in the annals of Zionism: the one hundredth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the First World War.”
Eran Tirosh, Chairman of the Israeli Society for the Heritage of World War 1, who presided over the ceremony, told his listeners: “The Balfour Declaration was a formative moment in the process that led to the establishment of the State of Israel.”
A trumpeter and a bagpiper in traditional dress played music from British military memorial ceremonies, and horsemen from local moshavim rode by with flags flying to symbolize the part played in the battle by members of the Australian Light Horse Brigade. The Australian and Nepalese embassies in Israel sent representatives to the event.