SYDNEY (JTA) – Five Jews were hospitalized after being beaten in what was described by an Australian Jewish leader as the worst incident of anti-Semitic violence in Sydney in many years.
Eight males, mostly teenagers, reportedly taunted the religious Jews — four from the Behar family — with slurs as they were walking home in suburban Bondi from Sabbath dinner after midnight Saturday.
A violent confrontation ensued, some of which was caught on closed circuit TV cameras. Security guards from a nearby nightspot intervened before police arrived. They arrested two 17-year-olds and a 23-year-old, but the rest of the alleged attackers fled.
The three were charged — the teens were scheduled to appear in court on Sunday, while the 23-year-old will appear on Dec. 3.
The victims — four men and a woman, most of whom were from Israel — suffered various injuries.
“Some have suffered concussion,” a police spokesman said. “There’s also a fractured cheekbone, a possible broken nose, lacerations and bruising.”
The male victims, aged 27 to 66, were wearing kippot. Three of the men reportedly served in the Israeli army.
Eli Behar, 66, suffered a bleed on his brain but is expected to make a complete recovery, according to a spokesperson for St. Vincent’s Hospital.
Another victim — Zeev Aronstam, a Mizrachi Jew born in Gush Etzion — said he preferred not to discuss the incident, saying simply, “We believe in God.”
The lone victim not from the Behar family was Shlomo BenHaiem, the education emissary for the Jewish National Fund who served in an Israeli army intelligence unit.
Yair Miller, president of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, said the incident highlighted the need for effective laws against racist violence.
“The attack in Bondi is the worst incident of anti-Semitic violence in Sydney for many years,” he said.