Community message from JCCV President, Philip Zajac.
SUPPORTING ISRAEL, SUPPORTING OUR COMMUNITY
This week, JCCV executive member Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann returned from a short visit to Israel. He reflected on his visit saying it was: “filled with raw, emotional, and poignant moments. One that especially touched me happened when I was asked why I had come now; my response was simple—I’ve come to support the Jewish people. However, as I leave, I feel that the people of Israel are supporting me.”
At the JCCV, we are here to support our Jewish community as we all watch from afar as Israel continues to face one of its toughest challenges.
Victoria Police this week released data showing the unprecedented level of antisemitism in our community.
We learnt that there have been 102 antisemitic crimes reported to police in Victoria – that is more than one antisemitic crime reported each day since October 7.
42 arrests have been made related to antisemitic crimes, including assault, reckless conduct endangering serious injury, vandalism, and robbery.
I am sure that you share our horror at this situation. The JCCV will continue to work with Victoria Police and CSG to ensure alleged perpetrators are brought to justice and further assaults and attacks are prevented.
Together with others in the community, we are also working to educate against hate.
Many in our community know someone serving in the Israel Defence Forces at the moment. We all pray for their safety and protection.
There has been some focus by activist groups on Australian citizens who have enlisted in the IDF. This includes trolling, and worse, on social media. As Australia’s Health Minister Mark Butler confirmed in a recent media conference, it is legal for Australians to fight as part of the formal armed forces of a foreign nation, this includes the IDF.
It is not, however, legal for Australians to support or engage in activities with Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Hezbollah – all of which are designated terrorist organisations.
We send our gratitude to all those who are protecting the Jewish state, and we pray for their safe return to their families.
PROTECTING YOURSELF ON SOCIAL MEDIA
As we all know, social media is a hotbed of anti-Israel and antisemitic hate. Just this week, violent antisemitic comments were left on the JCCV’s social media account. This is, regrettably, all too common for people or organisations that share pro-Israel or Jewish-related content.
It is a good time to remind our community to think carefully about the information they share online. Best practice advice suggests never sharing on social media:
- Personal information, including your address, phone number or even names of family members.
- Information about where you live or when you will be away from home.
- Details of private events.
It is also a good idea to lock your social media accounts and only connect with people you know.
This week, Darebin Council voted to remove the Palestinian flag from display outside Preston Town Hall.
After Jewish residents of Darebin and Jewish students at La Trobe University, which is located in the City of Darebin, contacted the JCCV to express their concerns about their safety, the JCCV helped to facilitate a meeting of community representatives with Darebin’s Deputy Mayor Cr Tim Laurence. Cr Laurence voted in favour of the motion to remove the flag, although we note that the City of Darebin’s one-sided motion, which promotes boycotts of Israel, still stands.
The JCCV will continue to help councillors understand that they need to stick to local issues and avoid making unnecessary, unhelpful and misinformed statements on international affairs. If you have any concerns about activity in your local council area, please reply to this email.