Two siblings were attacked Saturday evening as they were walking through the streets of Melbourne, Australia, in an assault being investigated as a hate crime.
The victims, a 25-year-old woman and her 22-year-old brother, were wearing visibly Jewish garb when a man in his 20s, clad in black, attacked them, striking the brother on the head. He then stabbed the sister with an unidentified sharp object in the shoulder and the cheek, and then fled the scene.
The brother was treated on the scene as his sister was evacuated to the hospital with minor injuries.
In an interview with Melbourne-based newspaper the Herald Sun, Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abramovich said, “If this assault, which is shocking on many levels, was in fact driven by anti-Semitism, it should be investigated as a hate crime.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this ugly and violent attack on individuals who were visibly identifiable as Jews, and our thoughts are with the victims,” he said.
According to the Sydney-based paper Australian Jewish News, security around Melbourne’s Jewish community has been significantly stepped up in the wake of the incident.
Jewish community members were asked to remain in large groups and refrain from entering dark, secluded areas or from gathering outdoors.
Australia is home to some 112,000 Jews, having housed a Jewish community since the end of the 18th century.
The Executive Council of Australian Jewry, an umbrella group representing Australian Jewish organizations, issued a report in 2016 listing 210 antisemitic incidents in the previous year. The incidents included threatening graffiti, messages and phone calls.