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10 October 2019
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the peak representative body of the Australian Jewish community is appalled and outraged by the attempted massacre of Jewish worshippers in a synagogue in the German city of Halle.
While the complete facts are still being ascertained, it appears that a heavily armed German citizen dressed in full combat gear and motivated by neo-Nazi ideology attempted to blast his way into a synagogue in Halle during Yom Kippur services, and upon failing to force entry, proceeded to shoot and kill at least two civilians in the vicinity of the synagogue. It is also understood that the murderer has posted a manifesto professing a white nationalist world-view and live-streamed the attempted massacre on a gaming platform during which he stated that “the root of all problems are the Jews.”
Yom Kippur is the Jewish day of atonement and the holiest day in the Jewish calendar when Jews gather together to reflect on the past year and to consider the year ahead. The deliberate attempt to carry out a shooting in a synagogue on such a day reveals a monstrous intent to kill as many people as possible, simply because they are Jews.
It appears that a massacre was only averted because the synagogue had sophisticated security measures in place. This follows an incident earlier this week, when a Syrian citizen attempted to gain entry into a synagogue in Berlin armed with a knife and shouting “F**k Israel” and “Allahu Akhbar” before being subdued and disarmed by security guards.
This latest event challenges the very basis of liberal democracy. If people in free societies cannot gather with their co-religionists to practise their faith for fear of being annihilated, it tears at the fabric of human freedom. This is why the scourge of antisemitic terror is not merely a paramount Jewish concern, it should unite all decent people and harden our determination to exterminate the evil of antisemitism once and for all.