Community message from JCCV President, Philip Zajac.
THE CAMPAIGN CONTINUES
In Israel, the campaign to defeat Hamas and protect innocent Israelis and Palestinians continues.
In Australia, our community was left confused this week by the stance of the Australian Government. On one hand, Australia voted for a biased UN resolution that called for an immediate ceasefire with no requirement for Hamas to disarm. On the other hand, the Australian Government signed a statement condemning Hamas and calling for the terrorist group to disarm.
It is important to remember that we need to look after our own mental health to continue to remain a strong, united community. Our wellbeing is just as important as our safety.
Locally, I addressed a rally outside the local headquarters of the Red Cross calling for it to do more to assist the hostages taken from Israel by Hamas on October 7. We expect the Red Cross to stand up for humanity and help people caught in the crossfires. Our question at that rally was where is the Red Cross for the hostages?
I was also lucky enough to light a candle on the final night of the Chanukah festival, Pillars of Light, at Federation Square. Organised by JCCV Executive member and Ark Centre Rabbi Gabi Kaltmann, this festival is a valuable opportunity for outreach from the Jewish community to other communities.
COMMUNITY SAFETY UPDATES
The JCCV, together with CSG, continues to work closely with the Victorian Government and Victoria Police to ensure our community remains a safe place for all.
This week, we had the opportunity to meet with senior police and thank them for their work to arrest a man who drove into Caulfield from Keilor on the day of the fire at Burgertory. Video footage shows the driver of a large ute aggressively driving at a group of people gathered on Hawthorn Road outside a kosher eater. The ute mounted the curb, narrowly missing the group, but this could have easily been a tragedy.
At the same time, we are disappointed police were unable to identify the person/people who threw a rock and other projectiles later that same evening during a pro-Palestinian rally at Princes Park, Caulfield. Police had assured us that they would be watching hours of CCTV footage and body-worn camera footage.
We also had a chance to meet with Deputy Premier and Education Minister Ben Carroll to thank him for his quick response to the teachers’ Week of Action on Palestine last month. While the JCCV is aware of rogue teachers who ignored the Minister and Department of Education’s directives, on the whole, the impact of this misguided action was minimised.
Finally, I also met with City of Melbourne Lord-Mayor Sally Capp to discuss ways we can ensure the CBD remains a safe and inviting place for Jewish Melburnians. The Lord-Mayor is a good friend of the community and we look forward to working with her and her colleagues at the City of Melbourne.
IN THE WORKPLACE
The JCCV – and me personally – have been contacted several times in recent weeks about intimidation and harassment of Jewish employees in the workplace.
I would urge anyone dealing with this matter to read the fact sheet by workplace law expert and community member Amie Frydenberg for a good overview of your employer’s responsibilities.