Three Jewish teens who mistakenly boarded the wrong bus in Melbourne, Australia, were subjected to Anti-Semitic taunts, Australian news outlet The Age reported.
When Elimelech, 15, and his two 14-year-old friends mistakenly boarded the wrong bus home on Wednesday, they never imagined they’d be taunted with the phrase “gas the Jews”.
The three Jewish boys had spent the day shopping at Chadstone and at 4pm decided to head home. But instead of boarding the bus back to Caulfield, they ended up on one bound for Oakleigh.
It was there they say they sat frightened and confused when a large group of teenagers directed abusive language at them, the Age reported.
“A girl in the group asked ‘What would you do if I grabbed [the skull cap] off your head?’,” Elimelech told The Age.
“The person behind me then said ‘Gas the Jews’.
The boys ended up traumatized by the incident, which Jewish leaders fear is part of a rapidly growing wave of anti-Semitic episodes in Melbourne.
Elimelech, who asked that his surname be withheld due to fears of further vilification, said he tried to defuse the situation to protect his friends, but they were outnumbered.
Neither the boys nor their families reported the incident to police. They said they did not want the offenders to be punished, but did want to raise awareness of the matter to the public.
Elimelech said he had also experienced abuse while walking in his neighborhood.
“People should be aware of the Holocaust and how damaging these comments are to someone who is a descendant of people who got killed and murdered,” he said.
Human rights advocates say they fear Melbourne’s Jewish community is in the midst of a “tsunami” of vilification, with derogatory graffiti also on the rise across Melbourne’s inner eastern suburbs.
On Monday night a rabbi filmed himself being subjected to road rage abuse in Caulfield during which a motorist told him he “should’ve died in Auschwitz”.