Australian Embassy

news 2009

JNF Biofiltration Launch

The Kfar-Saba biofilter is the first engineered “green” water treatment system in Israel, which harvests storm water and treats polluted groundwater.

Israeli doctoral student, Yaron Zinger came up with a proposal to build the first experimental plant of its kind in Israel, and together with KKL-JNF and Monash University in Australia succeeded in launching this unique concept in Israel.

The launch event was held in November 2009 in the presence of the Australian Ambassador to Israel, the Mayor of Kfar Saba and The NSW Minister for Water and Regional Development.

The infrastructure of the bio-filter system next to Kfar Saba's Green Park neighbourhood is expected to be completed by spring 2010. The surrounding area will become a large city park.


WATEC 09 is the international showcase of technologies, products, and services to support a sustainable economy.

Hosting participants from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and Australia, the exhibition is a unique opportunity to discover the latest innovations from start-up businesses, established companies, and researchers that can help drive private and public initiatives and accelerate results.

The Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce hosted a Trade Mission to Israel to coincide with WATEC 09 which focused on Alternative Energy, Energy Efficiency, Cleantech, Sustainability, Water Efficiency, Agritech, and other Climate Change related issues.

This mission was be led by The Hon Phillip Costa MP, NSW Minister for Water and Regional Development as well as the Chief Scientist of South Australia, Dr. Ian Chessell.


Coral Reef Conference

Australia and Israel have more in common than one thinks, with Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Israel’s Red Sea, in October 2009 Australian and Israeli scientists came together in Eilat to share perspectives on coral reef and marine research. They explored the possibility for continued collaboration between the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Science in Israel and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Australia.

The conference was opened by Australian Ambassador, James Larsen who emphasised the importance of future collaboration between the two countries in the fields of science and technology.


Be’er Sheva Commemorations

This year marked 92 years since the fall of the city of Be’er Sheva to Allied forces under the command of General Allenby. The charge of the 4th Brigade of the Light Horse Division (comprising Australian and New Zealand soldiers) played a critical part in this major battle. As in previous years the Australian Embassy, together with the Municipality of Be’er-Sheva, held an official service of commemoration.

The day’s events included memorial ceremonies at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, with the participation of Australian and New Zealand soldiers from the Multinational Force Observers, Sinai and at Turkish Memorial. A special tribute was also was also paid to Richard Pratt at the Pratt Park of the Australian Soldier. The day’s events attracted members of the diplomatic community, Australians in Israel as well as special guest, Digger James.



“Construct,” an Australian modern dance performance choreographed by Tanja Liedtke, was performed at the Suzanne Dellal Centre in Tel Aviv in October 2009.

“Construct” was Liedtke’s final work. It shifts between the physical act of building and the emotional construction of lives. Liedtke explores with wicked humor the curious connections between building a home, a life, a relationship and a future.
Both the theme and the talent were well appreciated by a packed audience including many Australians living in Israel.
The Australian Embassy in Tel Aviv was proud to support this event, showcasing the talent of young Australian dancers and choreographers.


Gan Garoo

During the Succoth holiday, Gan-Garoo Australian Park celebrated its 13th anniversary - its 'Bar-Mitzvah' year. Celebrations continued for five days in the beautiful Israel Valley.

Gan-Garoo Australian Park was founded in 1996 by a team of two members of Kibbutz Nir David – Prof. Rami Degany and Yehuda Gat.

Gan-Garoo is home to a wide variety of Australian animals including: koalas, cassowary, emus, a variety of Australian birds and flying foxes. Israelis especially enjoy being able to pat and hand-feed free-roaming kangaroos.

This year an “Australia” Festival was organized by the park to coincide with their Bar Mitzvah celebrations. Activities included a didgeridoo playing workshop, handicrafts, drum-beat workshops, boomerang making classes and much more.


Clean Up Israel

Clean Up the World is a global campaign initiated in Australia and held in partnership with the United Nations Environment Program that brings communities from over 1000 countries together to help conserve their local environment.

Clean Up the World Weekend was held on 18-20 September, during which the Australian Embassy contributed to the activities organised by Clean Up Israel.

Over 400 Israel school children from various schools in the port city of Ashdod got involved, picking up rubbish along the city beaches.

The Australian Ambassador as well as other Embassy staff participated in the activities, helping to raise awareness about the preservation of our environment for tomorrow’s world.

If you would like to participate in future Clean up Israel activities, please register your interest with the Australian Embassy or Clean up Israel. (


Cartoons in Conflict

The work of two of Australia’s most famous cartoonists, Cathy Wilcox and Alan Moir, is currently on display at the “Cartooning in Conflict” exhibition at the Israel Cartoon Museum in Holon.

The exhibition has been created by the Parents Circle – Families Forum, together with Israel’s most famous cartoonist “Kichka” as curator. The Parents Circle - Families Forum is a unique grassroots organisation made up of more than 500 Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost an immediate family member in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“Cartooning in Conflict” is a reflection on conflict, its consequences and, in many of the works, hope and reconciliation. Some of the world’s most famous cartoonists from countries including China, Japan, Europe, Thailand, Argentina and Mexico have contributed works to the exhibition.

* Embassy representatives in front of one of the cartoons by Alan Moir.


Israel Education Conference

Australia’s education reform agenda generated some excitement at the Ha’Ir Education Conference, held in Tel Aviv in August 2009. This annual conference explores ways to advance education in Israel.

Ambassador Larsen participated in a panel titled “Perspectives on Education”, together with the Ambassadors of Ireland, Mexico and Japan. He spoke about Australia’s education priorities including the Australian government’s comprehensive reform agenda in schooling. This agenda, which includes major investment in infrastructure and IT equipment for schools, aims to ensure that all Australian school students acquire the knowledge and skills to participate effectively in society and employment in a globalised economy.

You can view the panel on the Channel 2 Website. The Australian Ambassador speaks at 12:35


Melbourne University archaeology team takes part in Tell es-Safi dig

For the past three years, a team from the Centre for Classics and Archaeology of the University of Melbourne, led by Dr. Louise Hitchcock, has collaborated on the Tell es-Safi/Gath archaeological project, directed by Prof. Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University. The 2009 team included 9 students, who are investigating the Aegean origin of the Philistines.

On 17 July Ambassador Larsen went to see the work of the Australian team, which is helping to build closer ties between academics and students from Australia and Israel.

The Tell es-Safi is one of the largest multi-period, pre-classical sites in the Levant and is the biblical homeland of Goliath of the Philistines.


Wine Tasting

On 16 July 2009 Ambassador Larsen hosted the launch by Shaked Bros of the new Hardy’s Crest and Oomoo wine series in Israel.

Shaked is an Israeli family importing business which has been marketing and distributing wine from different areas in Israel and from around the world for over 20 years. Australian Brand, Hardy’s is one of their most popular imports.

The Ambassador’s residence was turned into a wine tasting spectacle, with tasting stands, gourmet cheese and bread, a stylish jazz band and of course fantastic wine.



In July 2009, Australian Ambassador to Israel, HE James Larsen, hosted friends of KarmelSonix at the official residence in recognition of the success of the company, which is in part attributed to its unique Australian-Israeli relationship.

KarmelSonix Limited is an Israel/Australian Joint Venture which has become a leader in developing and commercialising a range of acoustic respiratory monitoring devices for the disease management of asthma and related pulmonary disorders. In 2007 KarmelSonix was awarded a Victoria-Israel Science and Technology Research and Development Fund (VISTECH) grant to develop a non-invasive tool for continuous monitoring of severe asthma patients

Karmelsonix is the only Israeli related company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. (ASX:KSX)


G’day Shalom Salaam Israel Festival

In June 2009, Israel was awash with Australian culture as the inaugural G’day Shalom Salaam Israel Festival and the Australia Israel Leadership Forum were launched, both presented by the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange.

AILF participants included political leaders from both sides of politics in each country, scholars, policy makers, journalists and entrepreneurs, as well as Australiana’s Ambassador to Israel, James Larsen and the Israeli Ambassador to Australia, Yuval Rotem.

The Festival was a true celebration of Australia and the ongoing relationship between the two countries. The festival included Classical piano prodigy David Helfgott and award winning Sydney Opera House-based chef Guillaume, who provided a feast at the celebratory Gala Dinner at the King David Hotel. Jazz legend Paul Grabowsky made his Israel performance debut and jazz pianist supremo Joe Chindamo returned for an acclaimed performance. The annual AICE Australian Film Festival displayed the best of recent Australian films, including the award-winning documentary about the Israel Palestinian AFL Team – “Tackling Peace”.


"Where will it End?" Exhibition

In March 2009, The Australian Embassy hosted a photography exhibition titled “Where Will it End?” by Australian performance artist, Adam Read.

The exhibition drew a good crowd and raised over NIS 1000 which was donated through the Salvation Army to the 2009 Victorian Bushfire appeal.

Adam’s expertise does not just end with photography. He has performed around the world with different companies in street theatre, stage, and site specific performances, including Cirque Du Soleil from Montreal, Theatre Derevo from St Petersburg, Grotest Maru from Berlin and Company Barefoot from Holland. He has toured his solo performance Eclipse, receiving a Total Theatre nomination in the 2007 Edinburgh Festival, and award in the Pula Puff festival in Croatia in 2008.

Adam Read will be performing his new work entitled “The Garden” at the Akko Festival of Alternative Theatre from 4 to 8 October 2009.