(JTA) – Some 175 horsemen reenacted the Battle of Beersheba, a World War I victory of Australian and New Zealand horsemen over the Ottoman army that enabled the Allies to capture Jerusalem.
The event in southern Israel on Tuesday marked a century since the battle fought by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and took place in the presence of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and New Zealand Governor-General Patsy Reddy.
The Battle of Beersheba was reenacted by members of the Australian Light Horse Association, and includes descendants of the soldiers who fought in the actual battle.
“Nearly 4,000 years ago, Abraham came to Beersheba, the City of Seven Wells. Exactly 100 years ago, brave ANZAC soldiers liberated Beersheba for the sons and daughters of Abraham and opened the gateway for the Jewish people to reenter the stage of history. The heroism of your fallen men will never be forgotten. The brave soldiers who are buried here played a crucial role in defeating the Ottoman Empire, liberating the Holy Land, ending 400 years of Ottoman rule in one great dash,” Netanyahu said during the ceremony honoring the fallen soldiers.
In his remarks, Netanyahu noted the partnership between the Australian and New Zealand fighters and the Jewish fighters, who met for the first time two years before the Battle of Beersheba.
“Today we stand on the same side of history, on the right side of history. We stand for progress; we stand for peace; we stand for democracy. We stand against tyranny and terror. Israel salutes the sacrifice of these brave soldiers. We will never forget them,” he said.
He praised the spirit of the Israeli army, and referred to current events: “We set out a simple policy: We seek peace with all our neighbors, but we will not tolerate any attacks on our sovereignty, on our people, on our land, whether from the air, from the sea, from the ground or below the ground. We attack those who seek to attack us. And those who contemplate that, I strongly advise you: Do not test the will of the State of Israel or the army of Israel.”