Australian Jews Commemorate Yom Hazikaron and Anzac Day All-in-One
by Lakkana Nanayakkara
Australian Jews will be commemorating Yom Ha-Zikaron and ANZAC Day around the same time on April 25. Yom Ha-Zikaron is Israel’s Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day while ANZAC Day commemorates Australia and New Zealand’s war dead.
Yom Ha-Zikaron ceremonies will take place in Sydney and Melbourne, where most of the Australian Jewish community is located. Former Israeli pilot Noam Gershoni, who was severely wounded during the Second Lebanon War, will address the audience at Monash University in Melbourne. The university was named after the Jewish general who commanded the Australian military in World War I, Sir John Monash.
In Israel, a minute of silence will be observed at 8 p.m., the day prior to Yom Ha-Zikaron and at 11 a.m. on Yom Ha-Zikaron, as sirens sound throughout the country. The official remembrance ceremony is held at the military cemetery at Mount Herzl and during this day, all television and radio programs will pay tribute to the shared sacrifices made by both soldiers and civilians.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, recognizing those who fought in the Gallipoli peninsula against Turkey during World War I. Although the campaign ended in failure, the event became an important part of the national identity of both countries. On ANZAC Day services and military parades are held in Australia and New Zealand. A service will even take place in Israel, at the Commonwealth War cemetery on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem.
Despite different traditions, both remembrance days share many common values. Comradeship, commonly known as “mateship” in Australia and “re’ut” in Israel, is part of the identity of both nations. While Israelis will be wearing red flowers on their lapels, known as “Blood of the Maccabees”, red artificial poppies will play a similar role in Australia and New Zealand.