Tree Planting Ceremony – ISRAEL

On Tuesday, 7th April 2009, a tree-planting ceremony was held in honour of Greg Sher at Nahal Assaf, Israel, at a point along the ANZAC Trail.

Eighteen trees, representing “Chai” or “Life”, from varieties such as the Carob, Eucalyptus and Mediterranean Pine, were planted by those in attendance. The event was organised by Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (Jewish National Fund – JNF).

Greg Sher’s parents and extended family were joined by friends, expatriate Aussies and an Australian youth group visiting Israel. They were addressed by the world co-chairman of the JNF, Avraham Duvdevani.

The Australian Ambassador to Israel, His Excellency James Larsen, commended the spirit of volunteerism that saw Greg join his nation’s defence force. He also described to those gathered the close relationship between Australia and Israel: “All of us depend on having people like Greg out there fighting for us. This is true in Australia and also in Israel. There is a bond between our two countries and two peoples, which I think is very special. The trees that are planted here today represent that bond”. 

The location of the ceremony is important as it was here that Australian troops made a significant contribution towards the defeat of Turkish forces in WWI and thus the eventual creation of the Jewish state of Israel. In three separate battles, the ANZAC forces succeeded in breaking the Turkish defensive line from Gaza to Be’ersheva.

The head of JNF Victoria, Joe Krycer, spoke of the historically momentous part played by Australian soldiers in this theatre of operations. “If not for these brave soldiers – whose actions led ultimately to the liberation of the state of Israel – where would we be today?”

Fittingly, along this trail where the sacrifices made by Australian soldiers are recounted, Private Greg Sher will be forever remembered.