Best and worst
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Best and worst

This week’s AJN, the first of 2023, has stories displaying the best and worst of humanity.

Antisemitism has sadly reared its ugly head again, with neo-Nazi pamphlets dropped into Brisbane letterboxes, a swastika daubed at a Melbourne primary school and the daughter of Holocaust survivors enduring Nazi slurs while shopping at a supermarket in the geographic heart of the Victorian Jewish community.

Another auction of Nazi memorabilia, this time in Queensland, has seen the symbols of this murderous ideology of hate sold for a profit.

On the international stage, the United Nations has again made a mockery of itself. Countries who should know better aligned with dictatorships boasting the poorest of human rights records against the world’s only Jewish state in the General Assembly. Days later the UN Security Council, which has sat idle through many actual crises, convened an emergency session when a Jew (no matter your view of his past statements or politics) took a perfectly legal 15-minute walk at the holiest site in our faith.

We are right to despair at these things – but there is much also that we can celebrate.

Such as Project Rozana, the not-for-profit which does amazing work for Palestinian health outcomes, which is keeping the memory of a young murdered Arab Israeli woman alive by awarding fellowships in her honour for Palestinian doctors to train in Israeli hospitals.

Not only will this result in better treatment for Palestinian patients – including children – but the grassroots goodwill it has the potential to create is immeasurable. Indeed, the UN could learn a thing or two from Project Rozana about how to work towards, rather than against peace.

We can also celebrate our own young student leaders, who took a trifecta of awards at the World Union of Jewish Students congress late last year. Driven by a passion for our community and for Israel, they continue to give their time selflessly. They are Australian Jewry’s leaders of the future.

So as a new year begins, Australian and global Jewry and the Jewish state all certainly have our challenges, but there is much that we can be positive about.

We wish you all a happy and healthy 2023.

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