Rebel News Chief Australian Correspondent Avi Yemini recently visited the Be’er Sheva Anzac Memorial Centre in Gaza, during his coverage of the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. The museum, which opened in 2017 to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Be’er Sheva during the First World War, pays tribute to the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought under the British Empire against the Ottoman Turks.
With the museum temporarily closed due to the conflict, Avi managed to gain access by showing the officials his tattoo, which commemorates the centenary. The director of the museum emphasized the significance of the battle, stating that it marked the beginning of Israel and the settlers’ journey. He explained how the battle ended Ottoman Turkish rule over the area and paved the way for the creation of the British Mandate for Palestine. The director also highlighted the importance of the battle for the Jewish population, as it led to the publication of the Balfour Declaration, which expressed British support for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.
Despite the closure of the museum, its work has not ceased. The director spoke about the museum’s efforts to support the elderly population in Be’er Sheva during this challenging time. He also showcased the interactive exhibits inside the museum, which tell the story of the Anzacs and their journey from Australia and New Zealand to fight for their country and protect Western civilization.
The director explained how the Anzac forces trained and fought against the Turks, starting with the Gallipoli Campaign near Istanbul and eventually progressing to Palestine and Israel. He emphasized the change in tactics and leadership that occurred after two failed attempts by the British to capture Gaza, which led the allies to move south and strategically position themselves in Be’er Sheva.
The museum serves as a memorial, with 1,239 graves of English, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers. Visitors can also explore the Anzac Trail, which traces the footsteps of the army as they repositioned during the war. The director highlighted the importance of keeping the soldiers’ stories alive and honoring their bravery.
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The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has had a significant impact on the operations of the Be’er Sheva Anzac Memorial Centre. However, amidst the chaos, the museum’s director continues to uphold the importance of remembering the sacrifices made by the Anzac soldiers and the significance of the Battle of Be’er Sheva in Israeli history. As the conflict unfolds, it is crucial to acknowledge the historical context and the role it plays in shaping the present-day situation.