A PROMINENT member of the Jewish community has been left fearful and shaken after she was called “Jewish scum” and spat at while walking along Alma Road after an emotional minyan at Temple Beth Israel last Thursday night.
The woman in her 60s, who asked for her identity to be withheld, was walking by herself near Crimea Street when she saw a man standing at the entrance to one of the blocks of flats. After making eye contact, he allegedly called her “Jewish scum” and told her “You will get what’s coming to you,” before spitting at her.
Unsettled by the blatant antisemitism, she told The AJN it was “shocking walking along the street that you’re subject to abuse like that”.
“I was thinking about two things: my own safety and how to handle myself,” she added, “I just thought, no, I’m going to keep walking, I’m not going to show any intimidation.”
The woman said she had informed the Community Security Group and the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC), fearful that with so many Jewish events coming up, another similar incident may occur in the St Kilda area.
The man is described as being in his 40s, Caucasian, about 175-180cm, burly and with a small growth of a beard, assumed to be living in the neighbourhood.
ADC chairman Dr Dvir Abramovich said he has observed a worsening of antisemitism in Australia recently, fearful that incidents like these may end up resulting in physical violence. “Every Jew has a right to walk from a synagogue and be safe,” he said, “We can’t accept that the new normal in Australia is that Jews will have to hide signs of their religious identity to avoid vilification and harassment.”
Last Friday night, meanwhile – surrounded by footy fans after a game at the MCG – a man was photographed at Richmond Station wearing a hat emblazoned with a Nazi swastika.
“No one can feel safe when such terrifying episodes are allowed to happen. Imagine the sheer terror a Holocaust survivor would have felt seeing this unrepentant bigot,” Abramovich commented, pressing “the state government to draft a bill that bans the public displays of Nazism and to pass the law immediately”.
“Enough is enough,” he insisted.