Meeting Bibi In Australia

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After a superstar and super quick visit to Australia (well to Sydney, not to Melbourne, but that is whole other blog topic) for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it is back to home and business and politics.

But, Australians have felt deep connections for at least for 100 years, since the charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade. The ride to save Beersheba from the Ottomans is legend.

ANZAC cemetery burial place of Light Horsemen

For decades, the ANZAC Cemetery, Australia-New Zealand Army Corps finally resting place to dozens of fallen Aussie soldiers, was the only green spot in the desert town.

Australia is so very far away, but one friend from Melbourne in Sydney for the mega-events wrote of deep roots and connections which transcend the distance.

Remember it is summer Down Under, and February is often the hottest month and standing in security lines is hardly the norm like it is here in Israel.

So in the end I had my 90 seconds with Bibi. It went like this:
Hello, hello, hand shake, smile. Then:
‘We have something very sad in common; we both have lost brothers, and my brother is buried on Har Herzl 6 graves away from yours.’
He stopped and actually looked at me. The smile slipped away from his face.
‘My brother was on Miluim and he was killed in the Yom Kippur War.’
‘Where?’
‘The Mezach.’
(All Israelis have the same reaction to that word- always a grimace of pain, because it was such a debacle; and so did Bibi.)
‘And then his body wasn’t returned until the Camp David Accords, so not until 1978 was he buried, so that’s why he and Yoni are so close to each other.’
‘What was his name?’
‘Yehuda Pakula.’

And then more, coincidence or fact or whatever:

Soon after, I was standing in a line in the hot Sydney sun, waiting to be processed by security outside the Central Synagogue, where Malcolm and Bibi would address 2,000 of the faithful. I had been standing in the registration line for over an hour, and there we all were now waiting to be searched. I felt a bit swoony and wondered if I was actually going to pass out, but then I found a patch of shade and I realised that I knew the tall, nice looking guy in front of me; he was an Israeli that I had met on Keren HaYesod business in Israel, and here he was! (I’m not usually good with faces but this guy looks a bit like a movie star (Christopher Reeve, FYI) so I even remembered his name which NEVER happens.)
‘Hey, Adi! How are you?’
‘Hi! How are you!’ Etc Etc.
And then he introduced me to the person he was with, a slight young man with a pleasant manner and a relaxed smile. His name was Tzur Goldin.
‘Why do I know that name?’
‘Because you know the name of my brother, Hadar Goldin, who was killed in Protective Edge.’
Oy.
So it turns out that his parents are going all around the world to raise awareness of the fact that his body has to be returned for burial, but Hamas still refuses to return him. And he is in Sydney to speak also.
So, twice in one day:
‘We have something very sad in common, then.’ And I gave him the rundown, but the thing is that awful waiting time, those years until my brother’s body was returned. That’s what we had in common this time.
‘We had to wait over 4 years to get my brother back from Egypt. But we did. Dental records, dog tags, cadaver dogs. It took a peace treaty. But he is buried in Har Herzl, very close to Yoni Netanyahu.’

Deep roots and connections. Loss and bereavement. Common bonds stretching around the globe.

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I lived in the United States, Canada and Australia before moving to Israel in the midst of the Second Lebanon War. For the last nine years, walking the streets of Jerusalem, the scenes I saw every day did not resemble the ones familiar in the Western media. Now I try to share those positive images with the world, what is really happening in Jerusalem, Israel, The Real Jerusalem Streets

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