(JNS.org) An Australian court has upheld a decision by a local municipal council in Sydney to block the construction of a Jewish synagogue over fears that it could be a target of terrorism.
Australia’s Land and Environmental Court backed a decision by the Waverley Council to prohibit the construction of the synagogue in Sydney’s world-famous Bondi Beach suburb.
According to the ruling, the proposed synagogue’s site “raises concerns as to the safety and security of future users of the Synagogue, nearby residents, motorists and pedestrians in Wellington Street and the physical measures proposed to deal with the identified threats will have an unacceptable impact on the streetscape and adjoining properties.”
Australian Jewish leaders expressed shock over the court’s decision, saying it will prevent them from practicing their religion freely.
“The decision is unprecedented,” Rabbi Yehoram Ulman, spokesman for the Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe, told news.com.au.
“Its implications are enormous,” he said. “It basically implies that no Jewish organization should be allowed to exist in residential areas. It stands to stifle Jewish existence and activity in Sydney and indeed, by creating a precedent, the whole of Australia, and by extension rewarding terrorism.”