A municipal council in a suburb of Australia’s largest city said on Friday it was not to blame for a decision to ban the construction of a synagogue because it could become the target of a terrorist attack, JTA reports.
In a statement, the Waverley Council asserted that the decision to reject the synagogue was made by a local land use court, which said the congregation had not addressed the security concerns raised by the congregation in its own development application.
“Waverley Council did not refuse this development application. It was a decision of the Land and Environment Court and confirms that a synagogue is a permitted use at this location,” the statement said, according to JTA.
The congregation, known as Friends of Refugees of Eastern Europe, or FREE, sought to build a synagogue near the popular Bondi beach. It called the application’s rejection, on the grounds that it posed a “potential risk to users and other members of the general public,” a reward for terrorism.
According to the council, as part of their development application, FREE submitted a risk analysis report prepared by a counter-terrorism consultant. It described a number of potential risks and threats to the synagogue. The council noted that FREE sought a ruling from the Land and Environment Court, which ruled that the potential risks were not sufficiently addressed.
“The Waverley community is enriched by our diverse faiths and places of worship including our synagogues,” the council said in a statement. “Waverley Council has a strong history of partnerships with the Jewish community and will continue to work closely with the Jewish community and Jewish organizations.”
Australia raised the terror threat alert level in the country to high in September of 2014.
Last week, four men were arrested in a series of raids in Sydney in connection with what authorities described as a credible Islamist-inspired threat to bring down a plane.
On Thursday, two of them were charged with two counts of planning a terrorist act.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)