Aussies have clashed over the Israel-Palestine conflict at an iconic beach after two men attempted to destroy posters of Israelis who were taken hostage by Hamas.
A peaceful tribute to the 240 hostages taken captive by the terrorist group Hamas nearly a month ago was set up at Sydney‘s Bondi Beach on Thursday morning.
The display featured posters of the hostages, who are believed to still be in Gaza, with the word ‘Kidnapped’ at the top.
More than 240 blue and white towels, the colours of the Israeli flag were draped over the railings at the beach along with thongs and toys on the pavement.
Alarming footage shows two men approach the display, which had been approved by the local council and police, and begin tearing down the posters.
Aussies have clashed at Sydney’s Bondi Beach after two men began removing posters of Israelis who had been kidnapped by Hamas nearly a month ago
They are confronted by the tribute organisers who demand they leave.
‘They’re not here,’ one of the men says as he holds several posters in his hand.
‘This is my family!’ one woman responds.
‘They’re not your family,’ the man says.
The two groups continue arguing, with the same man telling the woman to ‘calm down’.
Multiple bystanders step in to tell the men to ‘leave it (the display) alone’.
‘It’s our community, leave it alone. It’s got nothing to do with you,’ one woman tells them.
The pair are seen scrunching up the posters as the group urges them to leave them alone . One then threatens to call the police.
‘We don’t need to bring this violence here,’ one of the men argues.
‘Yeah, but you are, you are!’ one of the women replied. ‘Please go.’
A peaceful tribute to the 230 hostages taken captive by the terrorist group Hamas was set up the Bondi Beach featuring posters of the hostages, blue and white towels and thongs
Footage shows two men approach the display, which had been approved by the local council and police, and begin tearing down the posters as organisers confronted them
The Australian Jewish Association said the men had ‘damaged and stole 6 signs’.
‘It was a heart-warming gesture to see the display of 240 towels and pairs of thongs by young members of the Jewish community who gathered at Bondi Beach to show that the hostages kidnapped by Hamas are not forgotten,’ chief executive Robert Gregory told Daily Mail Australia.
‘The Jewish community should be able to gather like any other Australians. Vandalising pictures of kidnapped children is heartless, depraved and un-Australian. Anyone who feels the need to rip up pictures of kidnapped kids clearly doesn’t have an argument to make.’
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-chief executive officer Alex Ryvchin said the actions of the men was ‘completely unacceptable and contrary to Australian values to vandalise and attempt to destroy this display’.
‘Australians have a right to peaceful, dignified displays that bring attention to the plight of their loved ones hauled off into captivity by a terrorist organisation,’ Mr Ryvchin told The Sydney Morning Herald.
‘It is bad enough that anyone would object to a display that reveals the horrors of terrorism and the trauma of the Jewish world.’
Multiple people tell the men in the video to leave the display alone and to go away. The organisers reported the incident to police who are investigating
Sky News Australia reporter Sharri Markson, who has Jewish heritage, shared the footage to her social media.
‘In Bondi today, men rip down posters of Israeli women and children who are being held hostage by Hamas,’ she wrote.
‘A peaceful and beautiful tribute, to remember those who are still being held captive by terrorists in Gaza tunnels, was violated by fellow Australians.’
One of the organisers said the display was an art installation designed to raise awareness about ‘the innocent civilians abducted and held hostage in Gaza’.
‘We want our family to be returned. There are also many non-Israeli hostages. It was not about any other statement regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. It is about the people,’ they said.
The organisers reported the incident to NSW Police, who are investigating.