ECAJ President’s address at Sydney’s United with Israel gathering

October 12th, 2023

Below are the powerful words of ECAJ President Jillian Segal, who addresses the crowd of 10,000 Australian Jewish and broader community members who gathered to show solidarity with Israel.

Our world has changed. The barbarians have breached the gates.

Last Shabbat, October 7, 2023 – another date that will live in infamy – Israel was suddenly and deliberately attacked by Hamas terrorists, by land, sea and air.

The butchery and savagery that has unfolded in Israel beggars description. Jews were hunted down and murdered in their homes and on the streets.  Infants were beheaded in their beds.  . Women were raped. The dead were desecrated. Hostages were degraded in public. Whole communities were decimated and buildings burnt to the ground

Not since the Holocaust have so many Jewish lives been taken in a single day.

We are totally shattered as we stand together this evening, mourning the 900 or more innocent lives lost, and praying for the speedy recovery of the injured and the safe release of all of the hostages.

If we had thought that the barbarity of the Holocaust would not happen again, the events of the weekend have demonstrated to the whole world that when Hamas proclaims that it intends to obliterate Israel and its Jewish population, it means what it says.

Hamas, and its backers in Tehran, like ISIS, have once again proved that they are utterly lacking in any concept of the sanctity of human life.   There can be no compromise or accommodation with these psychopaths.  They must be crushed, and we must brace ourselves for further tragedy.

But we are also filled with a new resolve and a hardened determination. We are fortified by the outpouring of sympathy and support for Israel and our Jewish community from our political leaders, other ethnic and faith communities and hundreds and hundreds of good people from all across Australia, unprecedented since the Six Day War in 1967.  Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

In particular at the federal level could I thank the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Defence Minister for their words of comfort and strong support of Israel in recent days as well as Allegra Spender, a local member to many. At a State level ( and I know David Ossip will have more to say in this regard)  can I also  thank the Premier for his strong words of support. As we all stand with Israel, now and in the future. this is very important to us.

We call on all fair-minded people and our political representatives to join with us in demanding the immediate, safe return of the hostages.

We resolve to support Israel to the utmost   spiritually and materially.

We demand that those who burnt the Israeli flag at the Opera House on Monday night and spewed disgraceful antisemitic slogans be identified and dealt with according to the full force of the law.

We call for determined leadership on antisemitism and race hatred from our governments.   Federal, State and Territory governments need to take new, effective measures in schools and on social media to educate the next generation of Australians about the evils of antisemitism and the ruin it ultimately brings upon everybody.

All this is on the ECAJ agenda- and we have a plan we will be communicating shortly with all our leaders,  but our collective focus must be stronger. We must all work together to pull our own country together and unite against hatred.  With your support we will not fail.