Australia, Israel commemorate 1917 battle with joint stamp

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Israel and Australia jointly released stamps marking the charge of the Australian Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba in 1917.

The official release Friday in the office of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy celebrates the friendship between Australia and the Zionist enterprise that has endured since the battle.

Israel’s Ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem, noted the friendships forged between Australian soldiers and Jewish residents amid the 1917 battle.

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

Heavily outnumbered Australian troops overran Turkish troops to take Beersheba and open the road 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 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.”

The launch coincided with the World Stamp Exhibition in Melbourne.

Also in attendance was Max Stern, the official representative in Australia for 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.

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