Sunday, August 19, 2007

Australia: Students assaulted in racist


Australia is becoming more and more difficult for Jews. Some say this is because of the growing arab population, others say that skinheads are to blame. Whatever the reasons, security costs and safety issues are taking their toll.

My heart goes out to this community.

Melissa singer

POLICE are searching for two men allegedly responsible for two antisemitic attacks on several Jewish students in St Kilda East on Saturday night.

Ephraim Manshari, a Year 11 student at Yeshivah College, was finishing his shift at Glick’s burger bar on Carlisle Street around 11.15pm when two Caucasian males approached the store from the west as they reportedly shouted “White pride” at Ephraim and six female customers, all in their teens.

“They asked if I wanted a fight," Ephraim recalled, "but I just said, 'I'm not interested, I'm going inside'".

The perpetrator, believed to be in his 20s, then punched another student, who is visiting from Israel, in the face, before taking a cafe chair and smashing a 40-centimetre hole in the shop window, before fleeing on foot with his accomplice, also in his 20s.

Several members of the Community Security Group, who were dining in Glick’s pizza restaurant two doors down, pursued the two men several hundred metres down Carlisle Street, before they got away.

Police arrived a short time later, but left the scene after taking witness statements.

Around 45 minutes later, the two men returned armed with baseball bats and confronted Yeshivah student Alon Tam, who was walking home from Glick’s around 150 metres towards Hotham Street.

Alon, 17, was hit with a bat on the upper-left side of his body, both arms and his right shoulder. He is due to have X-Rays tomorrow to determine the extent of his injuries, he told the AJN.

The police were called back and extended their search for the suspects, including dispatching a police helicopter.
He said he had been the victim of antisemitic abuse in the past, but that this was the most serious incident to date.
“I’ve been called a f***ing Jew, a bloody Jew on public transport, but I didn’t report it. But I realise now if I don’t report it [the incidents], it doesn’t get out there.

“This is Melbourne, you don’t expect things like this to happen.”

Manny Waks, the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission’s executive officer, said individuals in the Jewish community must be “empowered” to deal with antisemitism.

“We shouldn’t be alarmists [these attacks] are a minority in the community, but too many incidents are not reported.”

The attack on the students comes less than two weeks after members of a Melbourne amateur cricket club were suspended for posting antisemitic postings on social networking website Facebook.

Jewish Community Council of Victoria president Anton Block said the attack last night took place just metres from where members of Ocean Grove Football Club attacked Orthodox businessman Menachem Vorchheimer nearly one year ago.

“This was an attack on the youth of our community and attacked Glick’s, an icon of our community.”

He said the incident raised the issue of security for Jewish-owned businesses.

Sergeant Andrew Falconer from St Kilda Police Station appealed for anyone who has any information to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

Last year, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry logged more than 440 antisemitic incidents in Australia.

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