WW100 – New Zealand's First World War Centenary Programme ran from 2014 to 2019

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Battle of Beersheba centenary

When: 31 October 2017 Time: 9 a.m.

Where: Beersheba War Cemetery, Be'er Sheva, Israel

On 31 October New Zealand and Australia will conduct a commemoration to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba at the Beersheba Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Be’er Sheva, Israel.

The New Zealand National commemoration will be held at Tel Beer Sheva at 2 p.m. Tel Beer Sheva is approximately 5 kilometres east of Be’er Sheva. This mound, known historically as Tel el Saba, was New Zealand’s objective in the Battle of Beersheba. After six hours of hard fighting, the well-defended tel was captured by the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. Eight New Zealand Mounted Rifle Brigade men were killed in the attack and 26 wounded, almost all from the Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment.

The elevated Tel site is uninhabited and well-preserved because it is a National Park with UNESCO World Heritage status due to the biblical wells and ruins located there. Rising 20 metres above the surrounding area, the site provides a clear view across farm land to the Anzac approach route and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles attack onto Tel el Saba.

All New Zealanders are encouraged to register with Safetravel once their travel details are confirmed at www.safetravel.govt.nzMembers of the public who have registered to attend the New Zealand National Service at Tel Beer Sheva will gain entrance to the Service with their Ticketek attendance pass. Please refer to updated arrivals process on Australia in Israel's Facebook page.

Other New Zealand events in Israel

  • In November Sand in the Apricot Jam, an exhibition by New Zealand artist Rebecca Holden, will be on display at the Rishon LeZion Museum, 2 Ehad Haan Street, Rishon LeZion from 19 October 2017. Sand in the Apricot Jam is a visual arts project that commemorates the men and horses who served with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles in the Middle East campaign of the First World War. Sand in the Apricot Jam is one of two exhibitions the museum will host focusing on events a century ago.
  • Wreathlaying at Ramleh War Cemetery, Ramla, on 2 November 2017 at 10.30 am. The New Zealand Defence Force will conduct a wreathlaying ceremony in honour of those who served in the Battle of Ayun Kara (14 November 1917). This ceremony will also feature a special tribute to the soldiers of the Rarotongan Company buried in this cemetery. This service is open to all wishing to attend and no registration is necessary.
  • Wreathlaying at Jerusalem War Cemetery, Mount Scopus, Jerusalem, on 2 November 2017 at 2 pm. The New Zealand Defence will conduct a wreathlaying ceremony in honour of the 34 soldiers buried in the cemetery and the 87 listed on the Memorial with no known grave. Central to this service will be the Memorial Chapel with its interior forming a tribute to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force who served in the Sinai-Palestine campaign. This service is open to all wishing to attend and no registration is necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a visa to enter Israel?

Visitors travelling on Australian and New Zealand passports do not need a visa to enter Israel. Visitors travelling on other passports should check with their relevant authority as to whether they require a visa.

Foreigners wishing to enter Israel must carry a passport or travel document with an expiration date of at least 60 days beyond the date of expiration of their visa, visa exemption or residence permit, or intended date of travel.

Do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a must-have for overseas travel, so make sure that you have organised a comprehensive travel insurance policy before you leave New Zealand or your home location. Overseas medical care and repatriation is very expensive. If something unexpected happens and you don’t have the appropriate travel insurance, you are personally liable for all costs. Your insurance policy should cover provision for medical evacuation by air.      

Make sure your insurance covers all the activities you will be undertaking and any pre-existing medical conditions. It’s important to be clear about what is covered under your policy; if in doubt, talk to your insurer.

Do I need to register my travel?

Before you leave your home location you are encouraged to register your travel details on the SafeTravel website. Registration means that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade can keep you updated with travel advisory information, and can contact you and account for your well-being in an emergency.

The Safe Travel website provides travel advice for Israel. It is recommended that all New Zealanders travelling to Israel monitor this advice. 

How do I get to Be’er Sheva?

Be’er Sheva is a town on the edge of the Negev Desert, 75 kilometres south-west of Jerusalem and 100 kilometres south of Tel-Aviv.

Public transport is available from both major cities. Trains run from Tel-Aviv to Be’er Sheva.

Further details will be provided once they have been confirmed.

What can I expect at the commemorations?


At the joint Australia and New Zealand service, limited grandstands will be available with bucket-style seats and grassed area with no seats.

At the New Zealand service at Tel Beer Sheva, no seating will be available and visitors must be prepared to stand for at least one hour and a half hours.


The weather is likely to be hot to very hot.

As there is limited shade in Beersheba War Cemetery and at Tel Beer Sheva, attendees should be prepared with wide-brimmed sunhats and sunscreen. Water will be provided.


All attendees will enter the commemorative sites through airport-style security screening

Are there any prohibited items?

The following items are prohibited and will be confiscated at security screening:

  • Dangerous or hazardous items
  • Advertising or marketing messages
  • Large backpacks or luggage (day packs, aircraft cabin bag-sized are ok)
  • Opened bottles of liquid
  • Flammable liquids
  • Weapons or sharp objects, including umbrellas
  • Large objects (e.g. chairs, musical instruments)
  • Hiking/walking sticks or poles that do not fold down/telescope (medical and mobility aids such as walkers, walking sticks and wheelchairs will be permitted subject to medical need)
  • Large flags or banners
  • Professional photographic equipment (including telescopic zoom lenses, audio visual or cinematographic devices apart from for accredited media)
  • ‘Selfie’ sticks and large camera tripods
  • Drones and remote control devices
  • Alcohol – Intoxicated persons will be refused entry.