Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology Alister Henskens joined Australian ambassador to Israel Paul Griffiths in laying a wreath on Monday to honour the memory of the four Australians killed in the 1997 Maccabiah bridge collapse disaster.
Ahead of the 21st Maccabiah Games which begin this week, Mr Henskens was among the Australians who paused for a minute’s silence at a commemoration ceremony in Ramat Gan for the victims of the bridge disaster 25 years ago.
“This was a deeply emotional ceremony to attend, especiallysince there were survivors of the tragedy 25 years ago, family members and friends of the victims and hundreds of Australians who have travelled to Israel to compete in these Games,” Mr Henskens said.
“Four Australians died and more than 60 were injured in that disaster. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who were taken away in such terrible circumstances.
Australia is a great friend of Israel and we stand in solidarity with Israel and the Australian Jewish community at this time.”
Sydney’s Yetty Bennett, Warren Zines, Greg Small and Melbourne’s Elizabeth Sawicki lost their lives on that fateful day.
Mr Henskens was joined at the ceremony by NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark.
He thanked Mr Bark for inviting him to join the memorial ceremony to pay the NSW Government’s respects to those who were killed.
“It is hard to believe 25 years have passed since this terrible tragedy at the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv,” Mr Bark said.
“Despite the years gone by, the Australian Jewish community will continue to remember and honour the victims and ensure today’s young athletes know about the tragedy that occurred at these Games.
We are grateful to Minister Henskens for joining the memorial ceremony and for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the families of those killed on behalf of the NSW Government.
May their memories be a blessing.”
Alister Henskens is currently in Israel to engage with Israeli government, industry and investors, as well as the Western Sydney Trade Mission hosted by the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (NSW).