A bid to build a new synagogue at Bondi Beach has been refused in a court decision slammed by the applicant Jewish group as “rewarding terrorism”.
The Land and Environment Court yesterday ruled against the Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe group’s appeal against Waverley Council’s refusal of plans to demolish tennis courts to construct a new place of public worship on Wellington St due to security concerns.
FREE group spokesman Rabbi Yehoram Ulman said the court’s refusal, based on a security risk assessment, came as a shock to the Jewish community.
“The decision is unprecedented. Its implications are enormous,” he said in a statement. “It basically implies that no Jewish organization should be allowed to exist in residential areas.
“It stands to stifle Jewish existence and activity in Sydney and indeed, by creating a precedent, the whole of Australia, and by extension rewarding terrorism.”
In its findings, commissioner Graham Brown found “a more sophisticated risk assessment process” could be required for matters such as a “potential terrorist threat”.
Waverley Council had previously refused the development application for reasons including that the site was “unsuitable for a synagogue because of the potential risk to users and other members of the general public”.