It is difficult to express the sense of shock and outrage at the murderous attack near the synagogue in Halle, Germany, while Jewish people were at prayer on the holiest day of the Jewish year.
This was an attack not just on Jews, but on the civil liberties and rights which define free societies, namely the right to practice one’s religion in safety. It was particularly heinous, coinciding as it did with a time when the greatest number of Jews are at synagogue.
The Australian Jewish community is well aware of the dangers of racist extremism. With violence against Jewish targets from far-right, Islamist terrorists and other groups, Jewish communities around the world have been forced to employ an array of security measures. In Germany, these precautions prevented many more casualties.
While physical security is of vital importance, it is equally essential that our leaders, both at home and abroad, recognise the danger posed by anti-Jewish and far-right wing and other extremism, publicly name the problem and show the political leadership necessary to deal with it in its local and international manifestations.