31 May 2017

Australia and Israel Should Develop Closer Ties in Defense and Foreign Affairs

From BESA Center October 31, 2016:

Australia and Israel should develop closer relations in defense and foreign affairs, according to experts from the two countries.

Dr. Anthony Bergin of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and Prof. Efraim Inbar of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies have co-authored a report which considers common strategic interests between the two counties, including cooperation on security matters.

They recommend that Australia should upgrade military and diplomatic relations with Israel to tap into its expertise in counter-terrorism, hi-tech weapons systems, and cyber security. They also suggest that Canberra could help Israel enhance the diplomatic progress it already has made in Asia.

The report, The Wattle and The Olive: A New Chapter in Australia and Israel Working Together, suggests that Australia and Israel move towards a regular and sustained dialogue of foreign and defense ministers.

It argues that while Australia and Israel are strong supporters of each other and celebrate their shared political values, there is a lack of understanding on both sides of their shared strategic interests.
“While there’s a mutual recognition of shared values and a reasonably close bilateral working relationship, there hasn’t been sufficient recognition given by either state to how each contributes to the other’s national interests. As a result, there’s a lot of rhetoric from both sides about the relationship, but not a lot of substance … the relationship is in many ways underachieving.”
The authors believe Australia should not view Israel primarily through the lens of the Palestinian issue. They believe that an enhanced relationship with Israel would not damage Australia’s standing in the Arab or Muslim world.
“Arab countries are quietly getting closer to Israel because of the rise of Iran in the region and because of the fear of radical Islam. There is no evidence that Australia’s relationship with Israel has in any way hindered its defense relations with Arab countries, its defense engagement in Southeast Asia or the Pacific, its international efforts to counter terrorism and proliferation, or the ability of the Australian Defense Force to operate in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
The report was produced for the second Beer Sheba Dialogue, being held today in Sydney. The dialogue brings together politicians, think tank leaders, strategic analysts, former senior officials, diplomats and former senior military figures from Australia and Israel. Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies associates Prof. Efraim Inbar, and Generals Yaakov Amidror and Gershon Hacohen, are participating in the talks.

Download a PDF of the 56-page report. It is also available on the ASPI website.

09 May 2017

Young NT men prepare to travel to Israel to honour Indigenous soldiers

 From NITV News 9 MAY 2017, by Elliana Lawford:

Ethan Kantawara, 18, Johannes Kantawara, 15, and Stanley Kenny, 16, are travelling to Israel to honour Indigenous Light Horsemen that served in WW1. (Elliana Lawford, NITV)

Three young Aboriginal men from a remote community in Central Australia are planning to travel across the world to honour Indigenous Light Horsemen who served in the First World War.

The young Hermannsburg riders recently rode 127 kilometres through the Central Australian desert on wild brumbies to honour Indigenous war veterans in the Alice Springs Anzac Day Parade.

Now they're raising funds to travel to Israel to represent Indigenous soldiers in the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba in October.

“I feel really proud, it’s so exciting,” one of the riders, 18-year-old Ethan Kantawara said.

Hermannsburg students travel to Israel to honour Indigenous Light Horsemen.
18-year-old Ethan Kantawara is proud to represent the 'forgotten' Indigenous Light Horsemen.

Ethan is heading to Israel with his 15-year-old brother, Johannes Kantawara, and 16-year-old friend, Stanley Kenny.

The three young Ntaria men were invited to take part in the trip by the Australian Light Horse Association, after displaying excellent leadership in their local community horse riding program.

The riders' trainer, Chris Barr, said the young men are honoured to be representing Aboriginal Light Horsemen.

“They will be leading one of the parades over there that the Indigenous Light Horsemen were involved in and I think it's just a huge honour for these young men,” Chris Barr said.

The students need to raise $30,000 for the trip, with tickets for the ride costing up to $10,930 per person.

They have set up a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise the money.

"The Indigenous soldiers that went over there weren't really recognised, so ... we really want to get them over there," Mr Barr said.

Hermannsburg students travel to Israel to honour Indigenous Light Horsemen.
Stanley Kenny, 16, and Johannes Kantawara, 15, rode 127 kilometres through the desert on wild brumbies to participate in the Alice Springs Anzac Day Parade.

The Battle of Beersheba is considered to be one of the last cavalry charges in military history.

During this year’s 100th anniversary re-enactment, the riders will follow the same route through the desert from Shellal to Beersheba that the Australian Light Horse took back in 1917.

More than 100 riders will be embarking on the ride, and several of them are Indigenous.

The trip’s leader, Barry Rodgers OAM, an Australian Light Horse Association Director, said it’s about “righting a wrong”.

“We didn’t look after our Indigenous diggers well when they came back [from the war]. They served us nobly, particularly in the desert, and when they came home they were just sent back to the bush and weren’t given soldier settlement blocks or recognition,” Barry Rodgers OAM said.

“This is an attempt to try and redress that wrong, and give due recognition that is well overdue,” he said.

“It’s also an opportunity for all Australians to be proud of what these men did.”

Hermannsburg students travel to Israel to honour Indigenous Light Horsemen.
Barry Rodgers OAM and Stanley Kenny lay a wreath together at the Alice Springs Anzac Day Service.

Barry Rodgers said the three young riders from Hermannsburg were especially fitting participants for the Beersheba re-enactment.

“I remember a very special occasion putting a uniform on one of the young lads and he was a very shy and retiring young fella, but when he put the Light Horse uniform on his shoulders went back and a sparkle came into his eyes, it was almost like a spiritual experience, like he was connecting with something in his past that was bigger than himself,” he said.

“It’s a very significant trip that’s gone beyond expectations.”

The Centralian Light Horse Troop leader, Wangkangurru man Raymond Finn, will also be travelling to Israel.

His great-grandfather, Arrernte drover Jack Ludgate, served in the 3rd Light Horse Regiment and fought at Gallipoli.

Raymond has been fighting for the recognition of Aboriginal war veterans for many years.

“I’m very proud to now be going over to Israel represent our forebears,” Raymond Finn told NITV.

Hermannsburg students travel to Israel to honour Indigenous Light Horsemen.
Raymond Finn honours Indigenous soldiers at the Alice Springs Anzac Day Service.

The young Hermannsburg riders will be leading a parade at the restored Turkish Railway Station at Semakh, where a strategic battle took place.

Raymond said they are “the leaders of their community”.

“I think these three guys will represent their community well and it’ll make them feel proud as leaders, I'm honoured to be taking them over.”

Hermannsburg students travel to Israel to honour Indigenous Light Horsemen.
Johannes Kantawara, 15, takes his horses for a drink after a long ride through the Central Australian desert.

Follow this link to watch the young Hermannsburg riders on their 127 kilometre journey through the desert on wild brumbies to honour Indigenous war veterans.