J-WIRE: Stamps of friendship 20Jun13 June 20, 2013

J-Wire     -     11 May 2013

MaxStern-StevenConroy400Stamps marking the heroic charge of the Australian Light Horse Brigade in Beersheba in 1917 were jointly issued by Israel and Australia.

The official release of the stamps in the office of Senator Stephen Conroy on Friday celebrates the enduring friendship between Australia and Israel, dating back 96 years to the Battle of Beersheba, in which the heavily outnumbered Australian troops overran the Turkish troops to take  Beersheba and open the way for the capture of Jerusalem.

One stamp features the statue of an Australian Light Horseman in the Park of the Australian Soldier, funded by the Pratt Foundation, at Beersheba. Another features contemporary images of Australian Light Horsemen.

Australia Post managing director Ahmed Fahour said the joint stamp issue is “a tangible way for Australia Post to acknowledge its relationship with Israel Post. The Battle of Beersheba is something close to the hearts of both Israelis and Australians and was a clear choice to feature on the stamp issue,” he said.

Israel’s Ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem, acknowledged the special relationship forged between friendly Australian soldiers and Jewish residents amid the 1917 Battle of Beersheba, which has endured until this day.

“Despite great geographical distance between our two nations, we operate on the same foundation of values. I am proud of all that our countries have achieved together to date and genuinely excited by the prospects the future offers,” Rotem said.

Israel Postal Company chief executive Haim Elmoznino added: “The Israel Postal Company is proud to issue two joint stamps with Australia as a manifestation of the friendship and cooperation that extends across a number of fields between the two countries.”

The launch coincided with the World Stamp Exhibition in Melbourne. Also in attendance were Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, one of two Jewish MPs in the Gillard government; Max Stern, Holocaust survivor and the official representative in Australia for the Israel Philatelic Service; Sam Lipski, the chief executive of the Pratt Foundation; Haim Almoznino, the director-general of Israel Post; and Yaron Razon, the director of the Israel Philatelic Service.

“There was added poignancy at the event given today marked 68 years to the day that Max Stern was liberated from Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany,” a spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Canberra said.

Philatelist and stamp dealer spoke of the influence the famous charge of the Light Horsemen had had in the Balfour Declaration which was to underpin the establishment of the State of Israel.

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