“A RELAXING end-of-year break and a fulfilling start to the new decade.” That was what we at The AJN wished our readers in our last issue of 2019. However, the past few weeks have proved anything but relaxing for our community, our country or indeed the world at large.
After all the reassurances we’ve received from Israel’s most senior politicians in recent months that Australia’s concerns over the failure to extradite Malka Leifer were being taken to heart, the announcement in the final few days of the year that Yaakov Litzman was being elevated to the position of Health Minister seemed to suggest exactly the opposite. The depth of outrage on these shores was evidenced by the unprecedented condemnation of Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision by our communal leaders.
Meanwhile, the cataclysmic bushfires that engulfed Australia at the dawn of 2020 continue to cast a pall over our country. Our hearts and prayers go out to all those whose lives have been devastated, while our thoughts and thanks are with those bravely battling the blazes, and the selfless volunteers seeking to support those in need. We commend those within our community offering aid and assistance, and we urge every member of Australian Jewry to do what they can to help alleviate the suffering of those affected.
On the international front, we continue to count the cost of rising antisemitism. Just weeks after the fatal shootings at a kosher supermarket in New Jersey, Chanukah celebrations in the US were marred by the multiple stabbings at a rabbi’s house in Monsey.
And as we enter the new year, we wait anxiously to see just how the targeted assassination of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani will play out both in the Middle East and across the globe. Taking down those behind Tehran’s terrorist enterprises will no doubt spawn terror attacks in their wake … with Israel threatened for retaliation by those Soleimani sponsored.
In the Jewish State meanwhile, the political turmoil of 2019 continues with the Prime Minister asking the Knesset to grant him immunity from prosecution. One wonders though why he’s bothering.
If Israeli police are to be believed, Netanyahu can evade justice simply by asking Litzman to pressure some psychiatrists into declaring him unfit to stand trial.