New plans for “terrorism threatened” synagogue

August 10, 2017 by Henry Benjamin
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Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe have announced they will be submitting plans for a new development application for a new synagogue in Bondi  to Waverley Council and suggested jointly that a proposed protest on the weekend would “be unproductive”.

The two parties held a ‘without prejudice’ meeting on Wednesday to discuss the proposed synagogue and apartments at 105 Wellington Street for which the development application was refused by the Land and Environment Court on 2 August.

The refusal received world-wide media attention which focused on as it being an act of anti-Semitism.

The new development application could be in place as early as December.

At the meeting were the Mayor, Acting General Manager and senior planning staff from the Council and from the Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe Rabbi Yehoram Ulman, Rabbi Eli Feldman, and Rabbi Eli Schlanger along with their town planning advisor and architect.

The meeting opened with a prayer led by Rabbi Feldman who acknowledged Waverley Council’s commitment to and support of the Jewish community.

Waverley Council reaffirmed that a synagogue is a permitted use at the site under Waverley planning controls and that security issues around other synagogues and Jewish schools had been dealt with quickly and without controversy in the past.

After some constructive discussion, both parties agreed that the decision of the court was not meant to be related to religion or terror and that the matters raised in the judgement were capable of being overcome.

The meeting discussed the process for submission and assessment of a fresh Development Application.

Both parties agreed if outstanding matters could be resolved satisfactorily development approval could be given expressing that Waverley is a safe place to live and visit and that any new DA for the Wellington Street site should reassess security provisions.

Waverley Mayor Sally Betts

Waverley staff discussed the various development applications for alterations to other synagogues and Jewish schools that Waverley Council has dealt with in the past, many including security component and that all these applications had been approved by Waverley Council once any matters had been resolved.

FREE advised that they would be submitting a revised security assessment as part of their development application.

Waverley staff outlined the process for assessment of a new development application, which would be determined by the independent Waverley Development Assessment Panel and not by the Councillors.

Both parties expressed their commitment to work together constructively to resolve outstanding issues and to allay any fears that have arisen out of the press coverage. A further meeting of the FREE architect and town planning adviser will take place with Council senior planning staff next week.

Rabbi Yoram Ulman

Rabbi Yoram Ulman welcomed the Council’s offer to meet again to discuss a new application for a similar development and was heartened to hear from Council that a synagogue is an acceptable use for a building on the land.

Rabbi Ulman said “The meeting today was positive and we look forward to working with Waverley Council to address issues raised in the Land and Environment Court judgement. All going well, we may have development approval in place as soon as December.”

Waverley Council Acting General Manager Cathy Henderson said “We are very pleased that Waverley and FREE have committed to working together constructively. Both parties will follow the legal process for submission and assessment of the new development application and I feel confident that outstanding matters, including security, can be resolved. ”

Both parties expressed their commitment to free speech and freedom of religion, and suggested the planned protest on 13 August may be unproductive at this time.

Organiser Avi Yemini told J-Wire: “I cancelled the rally last name night when I was informed by FREE that an agreement had been reached.  Our objective was to ensure the shul was going to be built. It will be.”

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff told J-Wire: “It’s a positive development that the parties are working together to find a solution, and hopefully they will achieve a mutually satisfactory outcome”.


One Response to “New plans for “terrorism threatened” synagogue”
  1. Bella Ceruza says:

    Throughout the history of Australia, this is the first time that terrorists have dictated policy.

    Of course we all know that while this may be the only time in Australia, it is not unusual in Europe – for example in Germany (!!of all places) anti-Israelis are welcomed where Israeli flags are torn down:
    and the list goes on

    However the irony that seems to have been forgotten regarding the current Bondi situation is that FREE is an organization catering principally to refugees whose rights are being denied – principally because of threat from our latest refugees.

    Those of you who constantly raise your voice to allow our migration laws to be relaxed might like to ponder regarding the indiscriminate importation that has changed the face of Europe and has already impinged on the right of Jewish refugees – yes refugees – to worship as Jews.

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