At a judgment on Wednesday, the Land and Environment Court in Sydney blocked the construction of a new synagogue near Bondi Beach. The reason given: Jewish organizations are targets for terror, and they don’t want that in their town.
The ruling upholds a previous decision by the local Waverly Council. Land and Environment commissioner Graham Brown cited “potential risk” to the public.
“It would seem that a more sophisticated risk assessment process could be required for matters such as a potential terrorist threat,” Brown said at the judgment. “The proposed development should be refused as the site is not suitable for the proposed synagogue use as the Preliminary Threat and Risk Analysis relied on by the Applicant raises concerns as to the safety and security of future users of the Synagogue, nearby residents, motorists, and pedestrians”.
The ruling also stated that even if provisions were made to provide security, the proposed synagogue would still be unacceptable and the permit would not be granted.
“The proposed development should be refused as the site is not suitable for the proposed synagogue use as the Preliminary Threat and Risk Analysis relied on by the Applicant 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,” the council stated.
The original application to the council was made by the Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe (FREE), a Jewish organization run by Chabad, a Hasidic sect of Judaism. As part of their application, FREE submitted a Preliminary Threat and Risk Analysis report prepared by a counter-terrorism consultant as part of their development application.
The Waverley Council spokeswoman said to the Australian Daily Telegraph, “The Land and Environment Court found that the potential risks outlined by the applicant’s own report were not addressed appropriately. In particular, the risks to neighbors and passers by were not sufficiently addressed.”
At the same time, the spokeswoman tried to distance the Waverly Council from the decision.
“Waverley Council wishes to reassure the community that Waverley Council did not refuse this development application,” she said. “It was a decision of the Land and Environment Court.”
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Source: Israel in the News