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Those Wealthy Jews and Their Spending Habits

This morning I saw the following headline on the Herald Sun:

Jews in $7m security splurge

What irks me is the wording of this headline. Consider the dictionary meaning of the word “splurge”.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate dictionary:

splurge: an ostentatious effort, display, or expenditure

And Dictionary.com:

An extravagant display.

An expensive indulgence; a spree.

The headline belongs to the following report:

The Australian Jewish community is spending $7 million a year on anti-terrorism measures and has trained up to 1000 of its members to act as security guards.

Melbourne synagogues and Jewish community centres have also spent more than $1 million on blast protection advice to make buildings safer against bomb attacks, the police-trained director of Jewish security in Victoria said.

“There are about 300-plus community-based volunteers (in Victoria) who are trained to be our eyes and ears, they are trained to report to authorities,” the security director said.

“They are not spies, they are not agents, they are not vigilantes.

“They work at synagogues and they work in the community.”

The director, who asked not to be named, said the Victorian Jewish community had spent a “seven-figure” sum with an Israel-based firm, recognised as a world leader in explosion protection for buildings, on advice for upgraded security.

Victoria Police had briefed the Jewish community on legal aspects of their community security guards and they were trained by private contractors.

“They are trained to spot and report all vilification, abuse and potential acts of planning (terrorism),” the director said.

He would not comment on reports of suspected plots made to police but said 99 per cent had been cleared as unsubstantiated in subsequent investigations.

Leading businessman Joseph Gutnick has also increased personal security, employing private bodyguards who remain with him 24-hours a day.

In 2002, Mr Gutnick learned of an al-Qaida plot to assassinate or kidnap him — a plan that was approved by al-Qaida military commander Abu Hafs and supposed to have been co-ordinated by convicted terrorist Jack Roche.

I fail to see the “splurge” involved. The Australian Jewish community, like Jewish communities all over the world, is under an enormous threat from Islamic terrorists. Spending on security is absolutely necessary. There is nothing ostentatious or showy about it whatsoever.

I have to be perfectly honest here. I believe that this headline has some rather sinister connotations. It seems to imply that the rich Jews are spending copious amounts of money in an ostentatious way. Color me paranoid, if you will. Perhaps I am. But there is no denying that the wording lends itself to that interpretation. The only question is whether or not that connotation was intended.

But back to the article itself, which ends by mentioning the security measures undertaken by another group under threat.

Victoria’s Islamic community has also responded to increased threats and vilification in recent years with self-defence courses becoming popular and closer working relations with police.

Islamic Council of Victoria president Yasser Soliman said Muslims were taking security seriously but not on the financial scale of the Jewish response.

Mr Soliman said attacks on mosques and against individuals had subsided since the immediate aftermath of September 11 and Bali but verbal assaults continued.

He said Muslims were also being trained as “safety co-ordinators” who could work with police in emergencies.

Comparing the Jewish community response to the Muslim response is incredibly insulting. The last time I heard, it was not Muslims being threatened by al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. The article even quotes the Islamic Council of Victoria president, who acknowledges that they are mainly dealing with verbal assaults (probably from justifiably angry Australians).

What kind of self-defence does someone need against a verbal assault? Ear-plugs perhaps?

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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