Jewish School in Sydney Erects Bomb-Proof Wall After Series of Anti-Semitic Incidents
A Jewish school in Sydney installed a bomb-proof wall and windows following a number of anti-Semitic attacks that have left the Jewish community worried about their safety, Australia’s 7 News reported on Wednesday.
The Yeshiva Centre in Bondi built the concrete wall in front of its school, which houses kindergarten to 12th grade students and also serves as a synagogue and youth center. The structure was built with funds donated by members of the community as well as half a million dollars in public money granted by the federal government in 2012 as part of its Secure Schools Program, 7 News said. In the program, the government granted schools of all faiths money to upgrade their security in case of “racial, religious or ethnically motivated crimes.”
The school’s director, Rabbi Dovid Slavin, said the recent anti-Semitic attacks in Sydney have raised fear among Australia’s Jewish community, the Wentworth Courier reported. Rabbi Slavin cited last month’s anti-Semitic school bus attack by youths who shouted “kill the jews” and “heil Hitler” at schoolchildren and the anti-Semitic flyers distributed recently to Jewish homes in Bondi, Sydney. He said he hopes the increased security at his yeshiva will reassure parents that their children are safe.
“This is about confidence building,” he said. “Australia is a great, very welcoming country that has given many minorities great opportunities. We who live in Australia need to be extremely grateful, but at the same time we never want to be complacent or irresponsible when dealing with young people’s lives.”
“We must take whatever measures we can take to be able to prevent any sort of harm that people want to bring to us,” he added.
Parents told 7 News they feel safer sending their children to the school with the bomb-proof wall in place, but said they are saddened that such a step had to be taken to ensure their safety.
“If someone wants to hurt us they’re gonna try what they want to so it’s not ideal,” said Malka Wilanksy. “There’s a lot of people who hate us. [Who] wanna kill us.”
Another mother lamented: “The times that we’re in, we need walls,” while local resident Dawn Linklater said, “I think its terribly sad that people feel so afraid in our country that they have to erect a wall like this.”
Rabbi Slavin would not comment on the thickness of the bomb-proof wall or how much steel is being used in its construction, but did reveal that it was designed in Israel. He also told the Wentworth Courier the wall was made to withstand the impact of a car bomb left outside.