On Friday night a very serious assault took place in Bondi. It has been widely reported in both the Australian and international media.
All available information at this stage points to this being a random incident.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims for their speedy physical and psychological recovery. The leadership of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies has spent significant time providing support to the victims and ensuring they have had guidance and assistance, which they have requested.
At the same time, the Community Security Group (CSG) has assessed the broader security implications and is satisfied with the level of security that is currently in place.
The efforts of the NSW Police during this period have been exemplary. Our community owes them a debt of gratitude for the seriousness and sensitivity with which they have dealt with this issue at all levels of their organisation.
We have received messages of support from many sections of the Australian community, including the Premier and Opposition Leader, other political leaders, trade unions, leaders of the Arab, Muslim, Christian and other religious and ethnic communities and many concerned individuals.
Any such incident is clearly a cause for concern to us all, both as Jews and as Australians. The community can rest assured that the authorities and communal leadership are taking this matter very seriously and the welfare of the community is our foremost concern.
It is important, however, to keep matters in perspective. We are blessed to live in a country where racially motivated violence is extremely rare. As is demonstrated by the many responses to this incident, the great majority of our fellow Australians support our right to practise our faith and Jewish way of life openly and with pride.
The Board of Deputies is charged with the leadership of the community and ensuring our political security. The Community Security Group is charged with the physical security of our community. Together we work to ensure that we protect members of our community and the Jewish way of life.
We practise our faith and traditions openly and with pride.
On that note, I would like to encourage all community members to find a meaningful way to channel our feelings this coming Shabbat. Options include attending synagogue, arranging meals with friends and family, taking a walk on Friday night or Saturday morning and meeting friends or family in parks and public spaces.
We also encourage everybody to come together next week – at The Great Synagogue on Sunday November 10 at 6.30pm. The occasion is our annual commemoration of Kristallnacht. There is no comparison whatsoever between contemporary Australia and Nazi Germany, but the anniversary of Kristallnacht will be an opportune time for us to come together as a community, to reflect and to move forward positively.
This has been a traumatic episode for our community. As traumatic as it was, it is important that we neither under-state nor over-state its significance, and that we continue to live our lives as proudly identifying Australian Jews.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies