Poway: more reactions and a hoax threat to Sydney synagogue

April 29, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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More messages of condolences following the fatal attack on the Chabad synagogue in California…and police search Sydney’s Central Synagogue following a threat.

Police checking the Central Synagogue Photo: Facebook

Police closed the area around the Central in Bondi as a chopper hovered above. The synagogue’s spiritual leader Rabbi Levi Wolff told J-Wire: “Thank G-d everything is okay. 

Police have currently closed Bon Accord Avenue and encircled on The Central Synagogue after an online threat was discovered by authorities.  

A big thank you the NSW police working tirelessly to keep our community safe.”

The threat appears to have been a hoax.

NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel acting chair and NSW Labor frontbencher Walt Secord said:

“I wish to extend my sympathies and express my solidarity with the Australian Jewish community – in light of the San Diego Chabad synagogue attack.

“I recognise that when one part of World Jewry is in pain, that hurt is felt in all Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

“It is with deep sadness that the Australian Jewish community heard about the latest deadly antisemitic attack on Sunday morning  – which was also the last day of Pesach in the United States.

“To attack someone while they are worshipping is pure evil. No one should ever worship or pray in fear.”

“It comes exactly six months since 11 people were murdered at a Pittsburgh synagogue; weeks after the Christchurch mosque attacks and days after the bombings of Catholic churches in Sri Lanka.

“It is deeply disturbing and chilling to hear in preliminary reports that the alleged perpetrator of the San Diego attack claimed to have been inspired by the recent Pittsburgh synagogue and Christchurch mosque attacks.”

Yad Vashem stated that it is appalled and saddened at the shooting attack at the synagogue in Poway, California yesterday. We express our deepest condolences to the family of Lori Gilbert Kaye z”l, and stand united with all the victims of this shooting and the entire San Diego Jewish community.

Yad Vashem strongly condemns the actions of the antisemitic white supremacist at this house of worship. As we approach Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is dedicated to commemorating the memory of the six million men, women and children murdered for being Jewish, we shall gravely consider the dangers of unchecked antisemitism.

We are also troubled by various forms of incitement featured in the media –  print, digital and social. The world must act to combat such forms of hate speech by leaders and laypersons alike. Yad Vashem has been creating educational tools to counter this alarming phenomenon.

“In recent months, we have witnessed a distressing resurgence in incidents of antisemitic attacks,” says Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. “On every continent, violence against Jews, merely because they are Jews, occurs. The time has come for world leaders to speak out and condemn antisemitism in all its expressions, and immediately implement legal, moral and educational measures, both to protect the lives of their Jewish citizens, and also to fight against the outbreak of antisemitism that we have witnessed lately. In our post-Holocaust global society, there is no room for antisemitism or any other kind of racism or xenophobia.”

The president of The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies Lesli Berger circulated the Sydney community: “All well meaning people are appalled at these attacks on people at their most vulnerable  – at prayer in a house of worship – and must stand together in condemning all acts of terrorism.
The right to worship is meaningless unless one can do so safely, and atrocities of this nature undermine our freedoms.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Jewish community of San Diego and specifically to those who have lost loved ones.
Dr Colin Rubenstein, executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, said: “The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) is horrified by the shooting at the Chabad Poway Synagogue in San Diego, in which one person, Lori Gilbert-Kaye z”l, was murdered and three other innocent people suffered injuries requiring hospitalisation.

We offer our sincere condolences to the family of Lori Gilbert-Kaye z”l, a 60 year-old mother, and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured that included Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 57, who was leading the service when he was shot in both hands, Noya Dahan, 8, originally from Sderot in Israel who was hit by shrapnel in the face and leg, and her uncle Almog Peretz, 31, who was shot in the leg as he ushered children in a playroom to safety.

AIJAC reaffirms its commitment to leading efforts in Australia and internationally to build positive relations between people of all religions and ethnicities and in confronting extremist ideologies.

As Rabbi Goldstein said in a message from his hospital bed, “A little bit of light pushes away the darkness.”

This was an attack on innocent people at prayer in their house of worship during the holy festival of Passover, as well as on the Sabbath, by a “White Supremacist” with an overtly antisemitic manifesto.

It is a shocking reminder of the reality of rising global antisemitism promoted by conspiracy theories, which sadly is being mainstreamed by irresponsible media and political leadership to deadly effect.

This latest attack echoes the devastating massacre of eleven Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh six months prior, as well as the horrific attacks on hundreds of innocent Christians attending Easter prayers, in Sri Lanka, and 50 Muslims at Jummah prayer in Christchurch mosques.

These terrorist acts are an attack on our common humanity and it is incumbent upon our communities to stand together in opposition to the terrorists and all who inspire, justify or rationalise their hatred.

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