SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Jewish leaders in Sydney are irate after a local council denied an application to build an eruv.
Ku-ring-gai Council, on Sydney’s north shore, voted Tuesday night to reject a plan to build a 12-mile symbolic boundary that would allow Orthodox Jews to push strollers and carry objects on Shabbat.
The Northern Eruv Group already has applied to the New South Wales Land and Environment Court to have the decision overturned, its chairman, David Guth, confirmed.
New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies President Yair Miller said, “The tone of the meeting was unpleasant and there is no doubt in my mind that unease exists with the multicultural aspect of the application.”
In a letter to a local newspaper Wednesday, New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies Chief Executive Vic Alhadeff wrote: “This was a sad day for us. Not because the application to install an eruv was knocked back, but because of the bigotry that has emerged from some of the opponents to the eruv.”
The opponents to the plan, which would include the erection of 26 poles, have been vehement. “This is not New York, it’s not Bondi, this is St. Ives and Ku-ring-gai,” one local councilman at the meeting said.
A petition opposing the eruv has been signed by some 1,200 residents; some have said the eruv would create a “ghetto of Jewish people” and “pollute the environment.”
An eruv already exists in Bondi, where the majority of Sydney’s Jews live, as well as in Melbourne and Perth. The north shore community has been trying to establish one since 2006.