Israeli-financed Aboriginal center opens


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – The Israeli Embassy in Australia financed a computer center to help Aboriginal elders record their oral history and traditions for future generations.

The Allira Aboriginal Knowledge IT Center opened Sept. 2 in Dubbo, a rural town about 250 miles northwest of Sydney, home to the Mayng Galang tribe.

Israeli Ambassador Yuval Rotem said he was inspired to help create the center after hearing a lecture about the similarities between Jewish and Aboriginal cultures, especially the premium both place on passing on language, culture and traditions.

“With a disintegration and disconnection from living language, the culture of the people who once spoke it dies with them,” Rotem said at the opening. “Without an investment in safeguarding language, we stand to lose more than just words.

“It is my hope that the center will become a hub of education and learning for the Mayng Galang people of Dubbo, and a place for the dissemination and sharing of knowledge, history, language and culture.”

Local lawmaker Mark Coulton praised the center, saying that it “will provide the opportunity for young Aboriginal children to be taught about their culture and history."

“It is very important for knowledge to be passed on from one generation to the next, and that it was this shared tradition between the Mayng Galang and the Jewish people which had inspired the Israeli Government to provide support for the project,” he said.

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