The Jewish community came here with the First Fleet. They are embedded in our DNA as a community.

June 14, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Gabrielle Upton, the NSW Liberal MP for the Vaucluse electorate, home to the majority of Easter Suburbs Jewish community in Sydney, has spoken in parliament about anti-semitic attacks which took place recently within the electorate.

What she told the NSW parliament:

Gabrielle Upton with local federal MP Dave Sharma

“In the early morning hours of Sunday 10 February and Wednesday 17 April beachgoers and local residents woke to find murals across the Bondi Beach promenade vandalised with many antisemitic symbols. Bondi Beach is a beautiful, iconic and world-famous part of my electorate of Vaucluse, which I am proud to represent. The electorate is one of the most diverse in New South Wales and includes the largest Jewish community in the State. I am proud of that. I was shocked and appalled to see this kind of antisemitic hatred perpetrated in a part of our wonderful State—a place that openly and warmly welcomes people from all around the world as both visitors and citizens.

Then, in early May 2019, the Central Synagogue at Bondi Junction was a victim to an online threat, which led to a complete shutdown of that synagogue. Our wonderful police, locally and across New South Wales at the most senior levels, were responsive as ever. They provided world-class support to that community at a time of extreme stress. Of course, this took place following the Poway shootings in the United States near San Diego, and the Christchurch shootings, when fear and trepidation were at an all-time high amongst the Jewish community—and rightly so. It is totally unacceptable that members of the Jewish community have to live in fear that is profoundly reinforced by those cowardly acts. Let me be clear: I stand in solidarity with the Jewish community. In the eight years, I have been in this Parliament I have represented them to ensure that they have the safest possible place in New South Wales to practice their religion and culture with pride and satisfaction. That is why during the last election campaign I worked hard to secure a commitment from the Government to provide much-needed funding for the Jewish Community Security Group to improve safety across New South Wales.

On 21 May 2019, I was proud to be at a NSW Jewish Board of Deputies plenum at the Sydney Jewish Museum. I was joined by Attorney General Mark Speakman and Minister John Sidoti to formally hand over funding of $2 million for better community security to New South Wales Jewish leaders, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies President Lesli Berger and Chief Executive Officer Vic Alhadeff. The funding will not only strengthen security infrastructure but also improve the Jewish community’s network of closed-circuit television cameras, control rooms and crisis centres at more than 30 places of worship, aged-care facilities and schools. Most importantly, it will bring peace of mind to that community.

This was no miracle. I consulted closely with the Jewish community on the security funding. Leading up to the election I had many conversations with the president and CEO of the Jewish Board of Deputies about what could be done to assist, and that help is now real. I thank Lesli and Vic for working with me and the Government in securing better practical outcomes for their community. The Jewish community is deeply involved in many local organisations and adds so much to my electorate and to New South Wales.

Although I cannot mention all of the many Jewish organisations I include them in my salute to the amazing work they do for their communities throughout the country. Local organisations include youth group Bnei Akiva, Bondi Mizrachi Shule, Central Synagogue, Chabad Double Day, the Centre On Ageing at Bondi Junction, Dover Heights Shule, Emanuel Shule, Jewish House, JewishCare, Our Big Kitchen, Kesser Torah College in Dover Heights, NSW Friendship Circle, Sephardi Synagogue in Woollahra and Kehillat Kadimah Synagogue in Rose Bay. The Jewish community came here with the First Fleet. They are embedded in our DNA as a community. They have shared in the growth of New South Wales and are our proud partners in making this State so great. I also thank Waverley councillors Leon Goltsman, Sally Betts and Will Nemesh for speaking out against antisemitism in our municipality. Whether at a local charity, an aged‑care centre, a school or a shule, the Jewish people are pillars of our community. They must have the opportunity to share with us their faith, scripture and wisdom in safety and security.

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