SYDNEY (JTA) — The Jewish Agency for Israel head Isaac Herzog called the painting of swastikas on the world-famous murals decorating the promenade of Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach a “hateful attack” that “does not conform with Australian values of openness and inclusion.”
The dozen swastikas were discovered on Sunday morning.
Municipal staff worked through the day to remove the swastikas but some of the artwork will have to be repainted.
Early walkers and joggers alerted authorities to the vandalism, which had been committed overnight. Surveillance cameras are in use at the beach, but are primarily used to monitor those who decided to have a nighttime swim.
New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies President Lesli Berger condemned the vandalism. “To say that the Jewish community is appalled at this expression of wanton racism is a severe understatement. The swastika represents the ultimate in race hatred and all Australians of goodwill will stand together in condemning this shocking display.”
Local Mayor John Wakefield told JTA: “Five murals were defaced. Council have removed all symbols from the murals and at least one has to be completely redone.”
“We understand the extreme distress, anguish, fear and disgust that the swastika can elicit, especially within Australia’s multicultural community and amongst all fair-minded people,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Racism has no place in our culturally diverse community and we condemn last night’s incident in the strongest terms.”