Participating in the event were many representatives from municipalities and organizations in northern
Israel that have forged a strong connection with JNF Australia and KKL-JNF. As Gideon Shavit
and Zeev Kedem
- JNF Australia’s representatives in Israel - called out the name of each organization, its representatives in the audience cheered in response.Eran Doron
, Mayor of the Ramat HaNegev Regional Council, gave thanks on behalf of all those who enjoy a close partnership with JNF Australia and KKL-JNF: “The Jewish community in Australia helps to create the wonderful reality in Israel in places where we need it most, and today we have an opportunity to say thank you. Your pain is our pain, and the least we can do is to stand by your side.”
Major General (Ret) Ido Nehushtan
, Chairman of the Israel Australia Chamber of Commerce, stated that a time of need is when true friends are tested. “From here we’re sending Australia a huge hug, and know that you are not alone,” he said.
His Excellency Chris Cannan
, Australia’s ambassador to Israel, who honored the event with his attendance, thanked those present on behalf of the Australian people and government. “People unite when facing difficulties,” he said. “This is a tough time for my country, and there is no better way of expressing support than through music, joy, and being together.”
Dr. Doron Markel
, KKL-JNF’s chief scientist, stated that 2019 was the warmest and driest year on record in Australia. “The world already understands that if we do not act with determination, the climate crisis could endanger the earth’s population,” he said.
Prof. Tamar Dayan
of Tel Aviv University’s Zoology department gave a presentation on the catastrophic impact of the fires, stating that the fires were consuming 100 million years of evolution. “What can we tell our children if in our generation we were to lose such a rich and wondrous world, the likes of which cannot be found anywhere else?” she asked in conclusion.
Over the course of the evening, a solidarity fair at the back of the hall offered beer, snacks and donated Australian products for sale to raise funds for the WWF.
The evening ended with a stirring mass performance led by the social musical initiative Koolulam
, which works to bring diverse people together through collective singing. After the band members rehearsed the song One Love by Bob Marley with the audience, everyone sang it together, bringing the evening to a rousing conclusion.