Monday, June 24, 2013

Australia and Israel Issue stamps to commemorate the 1917 Battle of Beersheba. BDS Fail

The Battle of Beersheba is a significant event in the history of both Israel and Australia and remains one of Australia's greatest military triumphs.

The Battle of Beersheba took place on October 31 1917 as part of a wider British offensive known as the Third Battle of Gaza. The heavily outnumbered Australians pushed back the Turkish troops and opened the way for the capture of Jerusalem. In commemoration of the battle, and as  part of the Australia 2013 World Stamp Expo a two stamp set has been issued jointly by Australia and Israel 

The two stamp set  features a  sepia-toned image of a statue of an Australian Light Horseman from the  Park of the Australian Soldier at Beersheba (Be’er Sheva). The second stamp features contemporary images of Australian Light Horsemen.  

Australia Post Managing Director and CEO Ahmed Fahour, said the joint stamp issue is a great addition to the World Stamp Expo and a tangible way for Australia Post to acknowledge its relationship with Israel Post.

"It's been a real pleasure working with Israel Post on this stamp issue. The Battle of Beersheba is something close to the hearts of both Israelis and Australians and was a clear choice to feature on the stamp issue," said Mr Fahour.

"We are honoured to have representatives of Israel Post here as our guests and look forward to their presence at the exhibition".

CEO of Israel Postal Company Mr Haim Elmoznino, said The Israel Postal Company is proud to issue two joint stamps with Australia. The subject chosen for the stamps, the 1917 Battle of Beersheba, is directly related to the beginning of the relationship between our two nations.

"Australia and the State of Israel have a strong friendship and diplomatic relations between the two countries result in cooperation in many different fields. I welcome the fact the Israel Postal Company and Australia Post also have an excellent working relationship. I would like to thank Australia Post for this joint project and I'm sure that the cooperation will continue and increase," said Mr Elmoznino.

The Battle of Beersheba featured the charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade, widely considered to be the last great mounted charge in military history.  The capture of Beersheba eventually enabled  the British, Australian and New Zealand forces to outflank Gaza.(which incidentally was controlled by the Ottoman and not by the Palestinians. You knew that, right?)

From the Australian War memorial:

Beersheba was a heavily fortified town 43 kilometres from the Turkish bastion of Gaza. It anchored the right end of a defensive line that stretched from Gaza on the Mediterranean coast.

The first two frontal attackes on Gaza, in March and April 1917, failed. The British Army re-organised before trying again. The capture of Beersheba would break the Gaza—Beersheba line and enable the British, Australian and New Zealand forces to outflank Gaza.

The British 20 Corps launched an attack on Beersheba at dawn on 31 October 1917.
By late afternoon the corps had made little headway toward the town and its vital wells. Lieutenant General Sir Harry Chauvel, commanding the Desert Mounted Corps, ordered the 4th Light Horse Brigade forward to attempt to secure the position.

The light horsemen took less than an hour to overrun the Turkish trenches and enter Beersheba.
Thirty-eight Turkish and German officers and about 700 other ranks were taken prisoner, and a supply of water was secured. The Australians suffered 67 casualties. Two officers and 29 other ranks were killed, and 8 officers and 28 other ranks wounded.

The fall of Beersheba opened the way to outflank the Gaza—Beersheba Line. On 6 November, after severe fighting, Turkish forces began to withdraw from Gaza further into Palestine

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