A GARDEN dedicated to celebrating Israel’s 75th anniversary will be established on the Glen Eira Town Hall premises after the council approved it last week.
The Israel 75 Peace Garden, to be located at the north-west corner of the town hall, at the corner of Glen Eira Road and Hartley Avenue, is a gift from Zionism Victoria (ZV) on behalf of its 59 affiliates and the wider Jewish community to the city and residents of Glen Eira. It will feature native Israeli flora. On February 8, councillors voted unanimously in favour of ZV’s proposal for setting up peace garden.
ZV president Yossi Goldfarb said, “Israel’s founding father and first prime minister David Ben-Gurion spoke of making the desert bloom, so it is fitting that we mark this momentous anniversary in Australia’s Jewish heartland by helping Glen Eira bloom.”
He added, “This garden will not only celebrate Israel’s milestone birthday, it also celebrates Australia’s pivotal role in the re-establishment of the Jewish homeland after 2000 years.”
Goldfarb added that the garden symbolises “the ties between the two countries, the Jewish community’s bond with the City of Glen Eira which so many of us are privileged to call home, Israel and Glen Eira’s shared dedication to the environment and sustainability, and our continued yearning for peace both with Israel’s neighbours as reflected in the Abraham Accords, and with the Palestinians, as evidenced by our commitment to the pursuit of a two-state solution”.
Councillor Simone Zmood, who proposed the motion, noted the symbolism of the vote for the garden taking place the week of Tu b’Shevat, the Jewish new year for trees, and how important Israeli advances in the fields of technology, agriculture and water management are for Australia.
She reflected on the positive message conveyed by calling the site a ‘peace garden’.
Councillor Tony Athanasopoulos praised ZV’s initiative as a model for engagement with the City of Glen Eira that he hoped other communities would follow.
The garden, hailed as “a wonderful idea” by mayor Jim Magee, is being established in accordance with council’s Philanthropic Partnership Policy, which was spearheaded by Councillor Sam Parasol.
ZV executive director Zeddy Lawrence stated, “We were thrilled by council’s unanimous approval for marking Israel’s 75th anniversary in such a symbolic and lasting manner. We are immensely grateful to all the councillors, as well as the council officials whose advice and guidance in recent months helped us achieve this wonderful outcome.”