Australian state offers $500,000 security grant to Melbourne Jewish center


(JTA) — The Australian state of Victoria granted $500,000 to improve security at Melbourne’s central Jewish facility.

The Beth Weizmann Community Center houses 25 Jewish community organizations and the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia. Many Jewish community events are held in the building, which is owned by the Zionist Council of Victoria.

The grant, announced last week, will be put toward the $1.3 million needed to make the facility bomb resistant, the Australian Age daily newspaper reported Monday.

The center has been hit by anti-Semitic vandalism and dealt with intruders, and has received hate mail. Several groups housed in the building also have been threatened.

Sam Tatarka, president of the Zionist Council of Victoria and chair of the center, lauded Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria.

Andrews, Tatarka told Australia’s J-Wire News Service, “has shown that he and his government have a keen understanding of the key issues that plague our community, which unfortunately include a need to address our security concerns, particularly in light of the worrying trend of attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions in Europe and elsewhere in the World.”

The Australian federal government in March announced funding for 54 schools at risk of attack, including 17 Jewish schools that shared $7.5 million for security guards and closed circuit security cameras. Fifteen Islamic schools received a total of $4.4 million, The Age reported.

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