‘A small country with a very big heart’
A VIRTUAL Yom Ha’atzmaut

‘A small country with a very big heart’

Jewish communities in Sydney and Melbourne gathered online this week to celebrate Israel's 72nd year of independence.

RETELLING a story described by Israeli author Amos Oz in his book, A Tale of Love and Darkness, CEO of World Mizrachi Rabbi Doron Perez remembered Oz’s description of the “most heartfelt shriek and expression of elation he has ever heard in his life” when the two-thirds majority required for the establishment of the State of Israel was achieved on November 29, 1947.

“It’s not just the sound of your sports team winning. It’s the deepest shriek from your heart,” relayed Rabbi Perez at Tuesday’s
online community Tefillah Chaggigit organised by the Zionist Council of NSW (ZCNSW), Mizrachi Synagogue and Bnei Akiva Sydney.

Tuning in from Israel, Rabbi Perez stressed the centrality of the word “komemiyut” – meaning uprightness and confidence – in marking Independence Day.

“It’s a word that Ben-Gurion loved … When they decided to call this day Yom Ha’atzmaut, he said they should call it Yom Ha’komemiyut,” said Rabbi Perez. “Israel will sacrifice its best and its brightest to save Jews anywhere and everywhere because we live in an era of komemiyut.”

Featuring stirring performances by artists including Israeli-American musician Yoni Tokayer, the Tefillah Chaggigit was followed by a Yom Ha’atzmaut event hosted by Bnei Akiva, ZCNSW, Mizrachi Synagogue, UIA, ZDVO and Kehillat Masada with author David Kramer sharing stories of Israel’s humanitarian missions detailed in his recently released book, State of the Heart.

“We have always been among the first nations to offer international aid to any country,” said Kramer.

“Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world and yet we have a very big heart.”

The State’s humanitarian outreach is also on display in Sustainable Nation – an award-winning film highlighting the efforts of three individuals to bring Israeli-developed water solutions to other countries. The screening on Tuesday and Wednesday was enabled by ZCNSW’s partnership with Open Door Media.

On Wednesday, ZCNSW and Zionism Victoria streamed a Yom Ha’atzmaut concert featuring Friends of Shlomo Hanoch and Arik Einstein with Israeli and Australian musicians, and members of the community were encouraged to hold an “al ha’esh” (Israeli barbecue).

ZCNSW also held a Hottest 72 Hits countdown of the best Israeli songs of all time. Voted by the NSW Jewish community, Israeli folk band HaBanot Nechama took out the top spot.

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