RISING global antisemitism requires the federal government to assist the Jewish community with security costs, Wentworth MP Dave Sharma said this week in announcing round five of the Safer Communities Fund grants.
Within Wentworth, $5 million will be allocated to fortify communal organisations with upgraded security infrastructure. Beneficiaries include NCJWA, Moriah College, Nefesh, B’nai B’rith Retirement Villages, Kesser Torah College, COA, Montefiore, Emanuel Synagogue and Emanuel School.
Sharma said the funding would help fund vital security upgrades and ensure the community continues to feel safe and secure.
“Sydney’s eastern suburbs are the home of much of Sydney’s Jewish community and the focal point of Jewish communal life,” he said.
“At a time of rising intolerance and antisemitism around the world, we must do all we can to ensure the Jewish community’s sense of safety and security is protected.
“It is a vital duty of the government to ensure that the community feels safe and secure and is able to observe religious and communal practices without fear or intimidation.”
Outside of Wentworth, Mount Sinai College in the electorate of Kingsford Smith and Newtown Synagogue and Mandelbaum House in the seat of Sydney were also successful in securing funding.
Government Senator Andrew Bragg said he was very pleased to secure the funding for those organisations.
“The Jewish community contributes so much to New South Wales and Australia – the security is unfortunate but necessary. The least we can do is help the community meet the cost of the burden,” he said.
“Our government will always work with the Jewish community to ensure safety, prosperity and cohesion.”
Commending the federal government, Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim conveyed the community’s appreciation.
“The sad reality is that at the present time the Jewish community in particular faces elevated security risks, stemming from contemporary mutations of racial and religious hatred,” he said.
“This reality has been recognised by the government in the form of the latest round of grant offers, for which we thank in particular the Minister for Home Affairs.
“We are hopeful that future rounds of grants will be available not only for security infrastructure, but also to assist with recurring costs, which at present are an inordinate burden on the organisations of vulnerable communities at risk of attack, harassment or violence.”
Council for Jewish Community Security chairman Peter Wise said the government “is to be applauded” for continuing to recognise the increased security need not just in NSW, but across the nation.
“These latest grants are an integral component of CSG’s [the Community Security Group’s] endeavours to bind together and harmonise all aspects of our communal security infrastructure,” he said.
“Because of our community’s centralised planning and the umbrella approach we take with security, we expect our institutions will be able to employ these grants in a coordinated manner, and thereby achieve maximum effectiveness.”
Emanuel Synagogue CEO Suzanna Helia said the grant allocated to the shule “makes our community and our synagogue more solid and sustainable for a longer period of time”.
“We have a big clergy and more than 3800 members who will feel safer coming to the shule,” she said.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies community relationship manager Will Nemesh, who assisted many of the organisations to apply for the funding, also conveyed appreciation to the government for recognising the need and “keeping our community safe”.