Blue and white, with a dash of green
The Israel Peace Garden, a gift from Zionism Victoria and the wider Jewish community to the city and residents of Glen Eira, has been officially opened.
THE Israel Peace Garden, a horticultural feature at Glen Eira Town Hall that celebrates Israel’s 75th birthday, has been officially dedicated by Glen Eira Mayor Jim Magee.
At a gathering on Wednesday morning, attended by Glen Eira councillors and staff, and Caulfield MP David Southwick, the mayor joined Zionism Victoria (ZV) president Yossi Goldfarb in officially launching the Israel Peace Garden.
Featuring native Israeli flora, the garden, located at the north-west corner of the town hall grounds, at the intersection of Glen Eira Road and Hartley Avenue, is a gift from ZV and the wider Jewish community to the city and residents of Glen Eira.
Dedicating the garden, Magee said, “We recognise the real connection that the City of Glen Eira from now on will have with Israel. What it means is the City of Glen Eira recognises the State of Israel, it recognises it as the home of the Jewish people.” He added, “It also says to every Israeli, ‘You are welcome here in the City of Glen Eira.'”
Acknowledging the land of the Boonwurrung/Bunurong and Wurrundjeri Woi Wurrung peoples, Magee stated, “It’s such a privilege to be the mayor of the city with the largest Jewish community in Australia, and one of the largest Jewish communities outside of Israel. And what an absolute honour it is for us – and for me as the mayor today – to stand right here and acknowledge what we’ve done.”
Magee paid tribute to councillors Sam Parasol, who spearheaded the proposal, and Simone Zmood, who moved the motion to build the peace garden during Tu b’Shevat, the Jewish New Year of Trees.
Noting that the Shavuot holiday celebrating the revelation of Torah begins on Thursday evening, Goldfarb related a biblical story about the plants on Mount Sinai blooming at the time the law was revealed to Moses.
Praising Glen Eira for its ongoing support, he noted it was the first Australian municipality to recognise the IHRA antisemitism definition, “which was the biggest vote of confidence in the Jewish community”.
“The Jewish community is an indelible part of Glen Eira and Glen Eira is an indelible part of the Jewish community,” he reflected.
“One of the things we should strive for is peace, because peace represents harmony, it represents happiness, it represents the lives to which we all aspire.
“This garden is a testament to that and a testament to the bond between the Jewish community and the Glen Eira community.”