A Jewish man has spoken out after his 72-year-old father was targeted in a “shocking” attack outside a Melbourne Synagogue.
Police confirmed a man in his 70s was assaulted about 10.40am on Saturday morning while walking outside East Bentleigh Chabad House on Cecil Street, in an attack they are treating as “racially motivated”.
The victim’s son Anton spoke to Andrew Bolt on Monday night, revealing his father had been left “traumatised” by the attack.
“Physically he seems okay… but he’s been traumatised,” Anton told Bolt.
Asked to explain what happened on Saturday, Anton said his father had been walking through the synagogue when an assailant parked behind him and exited his vehicle.
“He approached my dad’s vehicle, looked inside, and he noticed that he has Jewish calendars with Hebrew writing” the victim’s son said.
“At that point, he quickly rushed back to his own car, retrieved a syringe, and then ran towards my dad to attack him. It was horrible.
“Thankfully, my dad had had the strength to defend himself. He fell to the ground on his back. He was kicking and screaming and fighting for his life.”
Anton said his father hadn’t been able to sleep since the incident and was worried similar attacks could happen again.
Jewish leaders have raised the alarm about the increase in anti-Semitism since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, with the Executive Council of Australian Jewry revealing the number of anti-Semitic incidents had increased to their highest level since they began keeping track.
Asked whether he thought the attack on his father was a one-off or part of a larger trend, Anton said while he hoped it was a one off he didn’t believe it was.
“My family, we came here from Russia in 1992 to escape anti-Semitism. And to be honest, my parents told me that they never experienced physical anti-Semitism there compared to what’s happening now. It’s just shocking. Shocking,” Anton said.
“I think this will happen again. And the Jewish community needs to be aware, which is why I decided to speak out and really get this message across.
“The Jewish community needs to know what happened… they need to stay safe, they need to stay vigilant, to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
A Victoria Police spokesman said the man who assaulted Anton’s father was believed to be driving a light-coloured Holden Commodore sedan.
The spokesman said the exact circumstances surrounding the assault were under investigation, but police were treating this as a racially motivated incident.
Anyone who witnessed the incident, has dashcam or has information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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