Bondi attack – the community speaks

October 27, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and The Executive Council of Australian Jewry have issued statements in the wake of the attack on five members of the Sydney Jewish community last Friday night.

Shlomo Ben-Haim - injured in racist attack    photo: Henry Benjamin

Shlomo Ben-Haim – injured in racist attack                      photo: Henry Benjamin

Among those attacked was the NSW Jewish National Fund’s education shaliach Shlomo ben-Haim.

St Vincent’s Hospital spokesman David Faktor told J-Wire: “66-hr-old Eli Behar was discharged from the hospital today. He had suffered a minor fracture of the skull. Two of the four victims admitted to the hospital were allowed to go home yesterday after treatment and the fourth patient, Shlomo Ben Chaim left later in the day. he suffered a broken nose and injury to his eye.” Behar’s 62-hr-old wife Leah, a teacher at Kesser Torah College, was also injured in the attack.

JNF Executive Director Ygal Shapir told J-Wire: “We expect our emissaries to have to be especially cautious in certain European countries but who would havee believed something like could happen in Australia.

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council’s Jeremy Jones added: “I have been maintaining records of antisemitic attacks in Australia for over 25 years but we have never come across an attack of this nature by so many on so many in all that time.”

Yair Miller, president of the NSWJBD said: “Australia is an overwhelmingly tolerant and peaceful country. However there are some who are motivated by hatred and racism, which has no place in our society, and the attack in Bondi is the worst incident of antisemitic violence in Sydney for many years.

We express our concern for the welfare of the family who were assaulted and are grateful to the NSW Police for their swift and comprehensive response. We expect all other members of the gang involved in the incident to be arrested and all to be charged to the full extent of the law.

This incident highlights the need for an effective criminal law against racist incitement and further criminal sanction of such racist events.  The current legislation has proved to be unworkable with the DPP not having ever been able to utilise it.”

Eli Behar told J-Wire: “We were walking home after Friday night dinner when a group of youths started shouting racist antisemitics remarks. They followed us and then they attacked us. There were no apparent weapons although they did try to smash a bottle over my son’s head. We spent three hours with the police today and can only hope that they catch the rest of them.”

Executive Director of the The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Peter Wertheim added: “Although the police investigations are still proceeding, the vicious attack on a Jewish family in Bondi early on Saturday morning appears to have been the most serious incident of spontaneous antisemitic violence in Australia in living memory”.

“Our thoughts go out to the whole family and we pray that they will suffer no lasting ill effects from the ugly ordeal they have been through.”

“We also want to thank the police for responding as swiftly and effectively as they did.  We especially thank the six employees from the Beach Road Hotel and a passing taxi driver who intervened to end the violence and apprehend some of the alleged assailants.  Thanks to their efforts we expect all members of the gang involved in the incident to be rounded up by the police and charged and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  The brave and selfless actions of these bystanders is a much more accurate reflection of the attitude of Australians to their Jewish fellow citizens, than the hate-filled violence of the group who allegedly attacked the family.”

“I grew up in Bondi and never experienced a single incident of antisemitism, not even verbal.   For decades Bondi has been famous for its relaxed, free-wheeling and culturally diverse  way of life.  Many Jewish people live there. There are numerous shules, kosher eateries, a kosher butcher, kosher bakeries, kosher grocery stores and Jewish communal institutions.  It is not uncommon to see men walking along the street wearing kippot or Chasidic garb, often strolling with their families.  Sometimes they are the objects of verbal abuse but violence is rare.  Last night’s violence was exceptional.”

“As Australia’s population grows and becomes more culturally diverse, governments will need to be increasingly proactive to ensure that racism is kept in check and that social cohesion is nurtured.  Australia’s National Anti-Racism strategy needs to be strengthened and integrated into the education curriculum.  This is also not the time to water down Australia’s laws against incitement to racial hatred.  On the contrary, the incident in Bondi illustrates that the current review by the NSW government of the criminal law against serious incitement to racial hatred needs to be given high priority.  It also highlights the need for the Federal government to provide assistance to the Jewish community to meet the high costs of securing our communal institutions, not only our schools”.

Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane has also issued a statement:

He said: “An attack on a Jewish family in Bondi yesterday warrants our absolute condemnation.”

Dr Soutphommasane said he is deeply concerned by the violence, which appears to have been racially motivated.

He added: “Everyone in our society is entitled to have the freedom to lead their lives without fearing they will be targeted for assault because of their racial or ethnic background.

Unfortunately, racism is still expressed in violent forms.

In this case, the attack appears to have developed from a verbal confrontation, and it is a reminder that racial vilification can escalate into racial violence,” Dr Soutphommasane said.

The Commissioner has extended his thoughts to the family injured in the attack.

Dr Soutphommasane said he is determined to continue the efforts of the National Anti-Racism Strategy, which is led by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The Anti-Racism Strategy provides educational materials to schools and includes a public education campaign, “Racism. It Stops With Me”, which aims to empower Australians to stand up to racism, wherever it occurs.

The latest report from NSW police states”

Three people have been charged following an assault near Bondi Beach overnight.

About 12.30am today, (Saturday October 2013), a group of four men, aged 66, 48, 39 and 27, and a 62-year-old woman were walking along Blair Street when they passed a group of eight males.

Police have been told the males made derogatory comments towards the group and assaulted them.

The melee continued along Glenayr Avenue until the arrival of officers from the Eastern Suburbs Local Area Command.

The alleged offenders attempted to flee however officers arrested three males a short distance away. All three were taken to Waverley Police Station.

Two 17-year-old males were charged with affray and breach of bail. They were refused bail and will appear at children’s court tomorrow (Sunday 27 October 2013).

A 23-year-old man was charged with affray. He was granted bail and will appear at Waverley Local Court on Tuesday 3 December 2013.

All five adults were injured suffering concussion, a fractured cheekbone, a possible broken nose, lacerations and bruising.

They were treated at the scene by Ambulance Paramedics and conveyed to St Vincents Hospital.

Investigations into the incident continue and officers have urged anyone with information about the incident to come forward.”

Media reports state that a security guard at a hotel and a taxi driver caught one of the offenders as he tried to flee. J-Wire understands that the victims of the attack will make a statement to police later today.


Police are urging anyone with information about this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.



20 Responses to “Bondi attack – the community speaks”
  1. Karl says:

    I don’t know what’s worse: the racism that motivated the youth to attack the Jewish family; or the racism that motivates the commenters of this article to assume the offenders are white.

    First of all, we don’t know WHO did what to WHOM. Note the WHO-WHOM construction; all that matters is WHO-WHOM — who is doing what to whom.

    I did some digging around — not that hard actually. It turns out that the youth were pacific Islands.

    So let’s play with out who-whom construction.


    Wow, how unremarkable.

    • Sam says:

      Don’t you mean ‘Pacific Islanders’? I doubt an island could hurt anyone.

      It not earth shattering news anyhow and they were not all Pacific Islanders.

      Let’s not presume anything. It’s of no consequence who they were. They were louts, no matter what race, religion, creed or colour. There is no need to put a label on them.

  2. LEO says:

    What happened at Bondi is, of course, shocking but is hardly surprising. Anti-Semitism has not been so rife in the world since WW2.Anyone who believes that the desire to murder Jews ended with the Holocaust are delusional. Persecution,hatred and murder has been our lot for 3000 years, why should it stop now? The anti-Semites can now cloak themselves in the robes of being anti-Israel and spurious upholders of human rights. Who cares! Now we know,thank God, that Israel is our shield and its arms our sword.NEVER AGAIN!!

  3. Asher says:

    3 out of the 8 sick b…..ds who did this were caught but what about the other 5 who got away??? None of the reports I have read show the police are making headway in capturing those who were quick enough to run away like scared cowardly rabbits…. Are the police doing their job? Time will tell…

  4. Michael says:

    Fortuitously the Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Tim Soutphommasane, will be the keynote speaker at the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ commemoration of Kristallnacht at the Great Synagogue on Sunday 10 November.

  5. Otto Waldmann says:

    Dormant antisemitism is rife in Australia. Those claiming otherwise are either ignorant or plain stupid, or both. Racially harmonious my foot.
    I want all those clever groisse machers who reckon that they know better than ordinary Moishe what goes on at street level and how to deal with racism, to put on a kippa and enter ANY subburban pub and try patching up a chat with the top blokes around the bar in their workin’ gear. Mindya there is no bloody muslims in the pub ’cause they dont drink, do they !!?? But there will be uggly scenes, mark me word !!!
    And we had worse quite a few years ago on Elizabeth St. right opposite The Great Synagogue when I believe Dr. Ehrlich was king hit when he apporached a hood who was yelling antisemitic abuse. He ended up in hospital in a very bad way.

  6. Warren says:

    How responsible is Bob Carr for inciting this hatred?

  7. Nina M says:

    I was in emergency at St. Vincent’s with a broken leg and met three of the men, one mother and one wife. They are one of the most loving and kind people I have ever met in my life and I seriously hope the creatures who did this damage will be dealt with severely! I am horrified that people are being attacked for their faith, I can’t even find words to express my disgust! My heart goes out to the Jewish community…

  8. Lynne Newington says:

    That’s where out politicians have to be aware what comes out of their mouths, and others as in the past with now retired bishop Pat power.

  9. Aussiejew says:

    International websites are reporting the attackers were Muslims. Is this true?

    • admin says:

      We believe they were Aussies

      • Lora says:

        I think the coverage of the Bondi attack here has been very strong – it’s a despicable thing to have happened, and as such an important issue to speak about.

        I do however wonder at this reply – I don’t think being a Muslim and being an Aussie are mutually exclusive, and perhaps a better answer would have been something like ‘No, there is nothing to suggest they were Muslims.’ or similar.

        I know this is a small point to make, but I think it is worth making because increased tolerance can only benefit everyone.

        Wishing all the people who were attacked a speedy recovery.

    • Lynne Newington says:

      Thank God I wasn’t raised with any racial discrimination is all I can say, passing that legacy on within the family.
      It all begins in the home, whether spiritual or temporal.

  10. john says:

    Apart from practicing the Hebrew Faith,let us remind everyone that freedom to practice a religion of your choice is written into our constitution by way of the “Separation of Powers”; and is fundamental to the Australian way of life. It’s bad enough that law-abiding-subjects-of-the-Crown can’t stroll down the street in the evening without some low life “Toe-rag” beating up on them. These piss ants need a good birching, to teach them right from wrong, because it would seem all else has failed to instruct these people how to behave.

  11. Sylvia says:

    I suggest that a ‘Kippa and Star of David’ solidarity walk should be organised in the Bondi precinct, making sure to pass through the area where the attack took place.

    Aussie Gentiles who oppose and condemn Jew-hatred, together with Aussie Jews, should gather together – the Gentiles wearing Stars of David for the occasion, the Jewish males wearing kippas or the Star – and march en masse through the streets, in order to ‘send a message’ to all lurking Jew-haters (and I would add that I think the odds are good that the attackers came from the Mohammedan fifth column now settled in Australia, although it is also possible that they may have been non-Muslim neonazis, or evil non-Muslim fools who thought they were defending the ‘Poooor Palestinians’ by attacking defenceless Jews in a street in Bondi).

    I would also encourage all Aussies who identify as ‘Friends of Zion’ – all Aussies who do *not* want this sort of rubbish to happen ever again – to show solidarity with Jews by acquiring a Star of David- in the form of a badge, pendant or other visible jewellery item, or on a T-shirt – and wearing it every Saturday. I think the Jew-haters might crawl back under their rocks quicksmart if they went out on a Saturday and saw Stars of David on every tenth person they passed in the street. It would be particularly useful if our leading federal and state politicians – on both sides, Government and Opposition – took part and led the way.

    I may be mistaken, but I do not think that any such attack on Jews has occurred in Australia before, or if it did, it was a long time ago. But now it *has* happened, it needs to be nipped in the bud; we have to take steps to prevent it from happening again.

    Part of the reason that the despicable BDS campaign has failed to get much traction here in Australia is because it was and still is decisively and publicly opposed both by politicians and by ordinary Aussies.

    I hope that the maximum sentence prescribed by law will be brought down upon those of the would-be murderers who were caught, and I hope that the police will be able to round up the rest of them.

    • Eleonora says:

      Why stop at Bondi? I live in Tamworth and wear clothing with Hebrew writing n it every day. Yes I do get dirty looks from the local Mulims but that their problem. Maybe I should make a T-shirt that says “Never Again” inside a Yellow Star of David and underneath This Little Old Granny Fights Back.

      My prayers and love go out to the families who were hurt.

  12. Bill says:

    In the U.S.A. this would be deemed a “Hate Crime” and carry much more severe penalties than these amature Nazis are bound to to suffer at the hands of “liberal” magistrates. A slap on their dysfunctiona wrists is about all that can be expected. A far better course to achieve the justice they deserve is to sue them for inflicting severe trauma in a civil court and take them for every thing they will earn as long as possible.

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