(JNS.org) Israeli President Reuven Rivlin commemorated the fallen soldiers of Australia and New Zealand during a ceremony at the Commonwealth Military Cemetery on Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus on ANZAC Day.
“The bond between the state of Israel and Australia and New Zealand is historic and strong. This bond is based on the common values our nations share: the pioneering spirit, creativity, and faith,” Rivlin said as he laid a wreath in honored of the Australian and Kiwi soldiers who took part in the British Empire’s efforts to defeat the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East.
ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that falls on the anniversary of the infamous World War I Battle of Gallipoli. Australian and New Zealand soldiers as part of the Allied campaign sustained heavy loses against the forces of the Ottoman Empire. Though ultimately unsuccessful in their aim to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople, the soldiers helped define the identities of their two nations.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Battle of Gallipoli. At the time of the battle, the Ottomans controlled Israel. Australians and Kiwis held special ceremonies on the anniversary amid a heavy police presence after a number of men were recently arrested for planning terror attacks in Australia.
“We are standing here today, honoring ANZAC soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the name of liberty,” Rivlin said in his speech, the Jerusalem Post reported. “The liberty, we all enjoy today; liberty that should not be taken for granted. May we always remember our heroes, the values they carried, and the cause they died for. May their memory be in our hearts forever.”