Anti-semitism in Australia...
It's getting worse...
A recent baseball bat attack on a young Jewish man in Melbourne has shaken his tight community and prompted fears that anti-Semitism has reached frightening new levels in Australia.
The trendy suburb of Balaclava, just a few kilometres from the CBD, is the epicentre of Melbourne Jewry with its synagogues, Jewish schools, kosher butchers and wineshops and cafes staffed by Israeli backpackers.
The sort of place where Jews should feel safe.
But as Victoria University anti-Semitism expert Professor Danny Ben-Moshe pointed out, if someone wants to bash a Jew in Melbourne they know where they can find one - in Carlisle Street, Balaclava.
He said attacks on Jews, which range from physical assault such as that on businessman Menachem Vorchheimer last October by a group of footballers returning from the races, anti-Semitic graffiti or abuse hurled from passing cars accumulate and give Jews a sense of exposure to racial and religious hate.
Earlier this month, two suburban Melbourne cricket clubs were investigated after some members posted anti-Semitic material on the internet about a rival Jewish club.
The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) said its members were offended by vicious comments made by players from the McKinnon and Beaumaris cricket clubs on a Facebook website called "FU Ajax Cricket Club".
But Prof Ben-Moshe said anti-Semitism cranked up to an alarming new level last Saturday night when two men, who remain at large, bashed 17-year-old Alon Tam with baseball bats near Mister Glick's takeaway shop in Carlisle Street.
"The most recent attack clearly shows that in a range of different ways, and in a range of different forms, there are individuals who still feel anti-semitism is a legitimate form of activity," Prof Ben-Moshe said.
The men had returned to the scene after earlier confronting Ephraim Manshari, 17, who had seen them chasing an Indian Sikh down the road shouting "f***ing Arab" at him.
It was then that they threw chairs through the popular fast food shop's front window.
"It is a frightening new level of anti-Semitism in Australia," Prof Ben-Moshe said.
Co-owner of the popular Jewish book and gift store Golds, Miriam Goldschmiedt, said she felt upset after hearing of the Glick's attack.
She said her 13 year-old daughter came home from school recently and said someone had daubed racist obscenities and a Swastika on a playground wall.
"She came home horrified - they are not used to the sort of thing," Ms Goldschmiedt said.