Two arrested after swastika spree
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Stickers on Beth Weizmann

Two arrested after swastika spree

"A 29-year-old Elwood man and a 21-year-old Doreen man have been charged with offensive behaviour and bill posting."

A swastika at a tram stop on Hawthorn Road near Beth Weizmann Community Centre. Photo: Peter Haskin
A swastika at a tram stop on Hawthorn Road near Beth Weizmann Community Centre. Photo: Peter Haskin

Two men have been arrested after plastering swastika stickers on the exterior of the Beth Weizmann Community Centre in Melbourne while Israeli ambassador Amir Maimon was inside.

The offenders, who stuck the stickers up and down Hawthorn Road, were caught in action on Beth Weizmann’s security cameras, at which one of the men made a lewd gesture.

Maimon was in a meeting hosted by Zionism Victoria (ZV), which owns and manages Beth Weizmann, and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) at the time.

ZV president Yossi Goldfarb said that the incident “underscores the importance of the announcements made by the Premier at our Parliamentary Yom Ha’atzmaut reception last week in terms of adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism, and also banning the public display of swastikas.

“Clearly the Premier understands there is a growth in antisemitism and it is a concern for the community,” he said.

JCCV president Daniel Aghion said while the swastika law is not yet in force, “Once it is, these perpetrators could face a year in prison for similar actions.

“This incident underscores the importance of remaining vigilant against those who seek to spread hatred,” he said.

He noted that “thanks to the strong security measures in place and the quick response of security teams, our work was able to continue uninterrupted”.

Community Security Group CEO Justin Kagan said because the incident was reported while it was live, “We were able to take action immediately and contact police, who responded to the scene and arrested the perpetrators.

“Once again, this serves as a vital reminder to the community … incidents that are live must be immediately reported to the police on 000 and then to CSG so that swift action can be taken.”

Victoria Police said two men had been charged “after they allegedly applied swastika stickers on a number of buildings in the Caulfield area”.

“A 29-year-old Elwood man and a 21-year-old Doreen man have been charged with offensive behaviour and bill posting.”

Beth Weizmann chair Sam Tatarka said, “The protection of our tenants, visitors and the community at large requires constant vigilance and advanced security systems both of which are features of our community centre.”

He added, “It’s terrible in this day and age that such measures are required, but we won’t take any chances when it comes to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of those on our premises and Melbourne Jewry as a whole.”

The men will appear at Moorabbin Magistrates’ Court on August 1.

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