SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Students at a Jewish school in Melbourne were evacuated amid a bomb scare.
More than 200 students at the King David School were moved off the campus after 8 a.m. Thursday when security personnel found an abandoned van containing a suspicious object near the school.
The Australian Jewish community’s Community Security Group alerted local police, and the department’s Bomb Response Unit used a remote-controlled robot to examine the van. The van did not contain explosives, and the campus was declared safe at approximately 11 a.m.
“While this did prove to be a false alarm, parents should rest assured that the security and safety of our students is our highest priority,” King David principal Marc Light wrote in a letter to parents Thursday.
The school makes “no apologies” for following security protocols, Light told local media.
“We haven’t had any specific threat to the school or to our students whatsoever,” he said.
The false alarm came hours before protesters gathered in Sydney near the opening of the Israeli Film Festival after a judge had blocked the planned protest outside the cinema.
Nevertheless, some protesters handed out leaflets to people entering the cinema urging a boycott of the festival, calling it part of a “charm offensive” to present Israel in a favorable light and to “disguise and legitimize the oppression of Palestinians.”
Inside, Albert Dadon, founder of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, which organizes the film festival, told the audience that he had started telling his children to be careful.
“I didn’t think in Australia I’d have to do that,” Dadon said.
The festival, in its 11th year, will screen in major cities across Australia for the next two weeks.