“Deeply disturbing instances of anti-Semitic intimidation and harassment have emerged in this city,” wrote the Melbourne-based paper.
By World Israel News Staff
In Melbourne, Australia, “a 12-year-old Jewish student was forced to kneel down and kiss the shoes of a Muslim classmate, while a five-year-old boy was allegedly called a ‘Jewish cockroach’ and repeatedly hounded in the school toilets by his young classmates,” reports The Age, a newspaper published in the Australian city.
“Both boys, whose parents have asked to remain anonymous, have since left the schools where the incidents occurred, with the five-year-old boy currently being home schooled,” says the daily.
The incident of the student forced to kneel and kiss the Muslim classmate’s shoes has appeared on social media. It was said to have taken place in July.
Because the incident happened in a public park and not on school grounds, the school and education officials have denied having responsibility for the incident and no disciplinary action has been taken, said the mother of the victim, according to The Age.
“I took such offense with the Education Department because there was nothing they did to protect my son at all, at any point in time,” she said, as quoted by the newspaper.
According to the report, the mother added that she contacted the parents of the Muslim student and they were horrified by their son’s actions.
One of the boys who watched the incident take place was later “suspended for five days for assaulting the Jewish student in the school locker room,” The Age reported.
The Jewish boy’s mother said her son “was punched in the face and left with a bruised back and had skin gouged out of his shoulder,” said the newspaper.
In the case of the five-year-old boy who suffered verbal abuse in the school toilets, his mother says he was “repeatedly taunted and laughed at” due to his circumcision, according to the daily.
Education officials “conceded last month in an apology letter to the parents that the boy had been laughed at in the toilets by other students on this day and said this was unacceptable,” said The Age, noting however that officials said that the taunts could not be “corroborated because they were not overheard by teachers.”
No date was given as to when the abuse occurred.
The mother charged that the school made “an error of judgment” in treating the incident as general bullying and not anti-Semitism, according to the report.
A day after it published these revelations in an article, The Age printed an editorial in its Friday edition.
“Deeply disturbing instances of anti-Semitic intimidation and harassment have emerged in this city, episodes that must be categorically condemned by political and community leaders,” wrote the Melbourne-based paper, indicating that there have been other acts of anti-Semitism, as well.
“These incidents portray a deliberately pointed form of religious bigotry, one that is intended to cause fear and ostracize a group of people for the sole reason that they follow the Jewish faith,” said the editorial, adding: “It must end.”
It said that “schools have a role. So do parents and friends, education systems, community groups and, especially, political leaders.”