Rank and File: Australians Remember ANZAC's Other Big World War I Battle in Ottoman Palestine

Plus, a rare treat for music lovers in Jerusalem and Ra’anana, and a Voices Israel Group of Poets in English recital in Netanya

Australian Ambassador to Israel Chris Cannan laying a wreath at the memorial commemorating the Battle of Semakh, September 25, 2018.
Ziv Ofir/Kinneret College

ANZAC’S OTHER BIG BATTLE: While the ANZAC Mounted Division was most famous for the Battle of Be’er Sheva, whose centenary was commemorated last year, the Australian and New Zealand infantry division also won an important battle further north toward the end of World War I. Early last week, Australian Ambassador to Israel Chris Cannan joined a number of Australian tour groups to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Semakh, on the southern shores of Lake Kinneret. “While Australia’s military engagement in this region began more than a century ago, it continues today,” observed Cannan. “For example, Australian Maj. Gen. Simon Stuart commands the Multinational Force and Observers in Sinai, which helps maintain the crucial peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.” The ceremony took place at the old Semakh railway station, on the grounds of Kinneret College.

SONGS OUT OF AFRICA: Music lovers enjoyed a rare treat in Jerusalem and Ra’anana this week – a combination of Cape Town’s Herzlia School Vocal Ensemble and Khayelitsha Mambazo Men’s Choir, who sang in celebration of Telfed’s 70th birthday. “This was a culmination of almost two years’ work,” Mark Todes, chairman at the school and head of the trip’s steering committee, told Haaretz. He said the Khayelitsha choir, which performs on Cape Town’s waterfront, started working with cantor Ivor Joffe, who “brought a musical fusion with their style and the children – which is contemporary but also religious.” Thus, the concerts were a mix of the two. He noted that, en route to Israel, the group had a planned layover in Addis Ababa, where the children met with 15 members of the Falashmura community. He said that seeing the Ethiopians’ passion for Judaism and Zionism “was a stunning, moving educational experience.”

POETRY RECITAL IN NETANYA: The Voices Israel Group of Poets in English will hold the official launch of its annual “Anthology” in Netanya on Sunday. The collection includes works by poets living in Israel and others living overseas, and is not limited to only members of Voices Israel. “Those living in Israel will, where possible, attend the evening and read their own poems,” former Voices Israel President Wendy Blumfield told Haaretz. “Poets who cannot attend will be represented by participants who will read their poems on their behalf.” She noted that the chief editor of the anthology, Dina Yehuda, will host the evening together with Voices President Susan Olsburgh. For more info or to attend the launch, call Susan at 054-919-3575.

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

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