This year’s celebration on Monday, 12th May 2014 evening at Four Seasons Hotel was no exception, and in fact, was even bigger and better.
NSW Premier Mike Baird delivered the keynote address as 500 people – diplomats, politicians and community, faith and business leaders – gathered to mark the 66th anniversary of Israel’s Independence Day. The event was hosted jointly by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Zionist Council of NSW, Executive Council of Australian Jewry and Zionist Federation of Australia. The event was also addressed by Israeli Ambassador, His Excellency Shmuel Ben-Shmuel and Board of Deputies president Yair Miller.
A toast was raised to mark the 66th Independence Day of Israel.
Israel’s Independence Day is the celebration of the anniversary of the day on which Israel independence was proclaimed by Mr David Ben-Gurion, who read the Israeli Declaration of Independence on 14 May 1948.
In a very Israeli welcoming style, key leaders of the hosting bodies welcomed each and every guest entering the venue. Guests enjoyed the celebration with drinks and traditional Israeli food.
Key political leaders included Mike Baird (Premier of NSW), Victor Dominello (Minister for Communities & Citizenship), John Robertson (Leader of Opposition), David Clarke (Parliamentary Secretary), David Elliott (Parliamentary Secretary), Matt Kean (Parliamentary Secretary) and Paul Fletcher (Federal Parliamentary Secretary).
Other notable people attending the celebration included Vic Alhdeff (Chairman, Community Relations Commission), Stepan Kerkyasharian (President of the Anti-Discrimination Board), Dr Tim Soutphommasane (Race Discrimination Commissioner,) and Tim Wilson (Human Rights Commissioner).
Key community leaders included myself (Dr Yadu Singh, President of Indian Australian Association of NSW), Ahmet Keskin (Affinity Intercultural Foundation) and David Ossip (Hornsby Councillor), in addition to many other key people representing various faiths and ethnic backgrounds.
More than 30 Diplomatic representatives were present too, along with media and business leaders.
Israel is a successful and thriving democracy in Middle East. Despite its difficult, and at times violent, neighbourhood, it has achieved success in many fronts. It wishes and strives for peace in the region under the principle of “Two States Solution” and Co-existence.
People in Israel celebrated their nation’s 66th year by heading out to the national parks, watching IAF flyover, visiting army bases and watching the International Bible Contest on Tuesday, 6th May, 2014.
Happy 66th Independence Day to Citizens of Israel, people of Jewish ancestry in Australia and all over the world, and friends of Israel!
Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/12th May, 2014