Happy birthday, Israel!
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Happy birthday, Israel!

DESPITE the gloomy weather, the Sydney Jewish community came out in force on Sunday to celebrate Israel’s 68th birthday.

DESPITE the gloomy weather, the Sydney Jewish community came out in force on Sunday to celebrate Israel’s 68th birthday.

The Zionist Council of NSW’s (ZCNSW) annual Yom Ha’atzmaut community concert and carnival, held at Moriah College, saw around 3000 people gather to enjoy live music from Israeli band The Voices of Samuel, as well as other local musicians, food, market stalls and a range of fun children’s activities.

Among the attendees at the celebration was Israeli ambassador Shmuel Ben-Shmuel.

“It gives me great pride to see Israel’s national day celebrated with much passion and pleasure here as we’ve just seen as it is in the streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Beersheva. Because this is truly one of the warmest, most passionate and committed Zionist communities I’ve ever seen,” the ambassador said.

“Tonight we celebrate the spirit of the Jewish people. Although that spirit has been tested, our virtues, drive and inspiration make the future of our promised land ripe with the strongest opportunity.

“Sydney, it is an honour to share Israel’s 68th Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration alongside this strong and vibrant community – one of the best Jewish communities in the world.”

ZCNSW president Richard Balkin said it was “really wonderful” to see so many members of the community come out to support Israel.

“Our community always shows its support in difficult times, and to take the opportunity to come and sing and dance and celebrate was just wonderful to see,” Balkin told The AJN.

He said it was especially heartening to see the number of younger members of the community taking part in the celebrations.

“The kids enjoyed the rides and the concert, and to see all these young faces up on the stage singing and dancing with the band was a really unforgettable sight.”

Balkin added that to have the Israeli ambassador attend the event, which “hasn’t happened for a number of years”, was a tribute to the work of the ZCNSW and to the importance of the Sydney Jewish community.

Stating that the Yom Ha’atzmaut concert and carnival “really was a true feast for the senses”, ZCNSW director of youth and young adult activity Teneille Murray said, “The positive feedback from this year’s event has been overwhelming.

“Everyone has commented that after this year’s success they cannot wait to see what next year will bring!”

EVAN ZLATKIS

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