The mother of one of the suspects arrested in connection with this weekend’s beating of several Jews in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday said that her son could not be an anti- Semite as she works for a Jewish nursing home.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the mother of the accused stated that her son did not hate Jews, citing her employment as proof.

“When he’s at home he’s not racist, but when they get together they like to pick on people – it only takes drinking,” she said of her son and his friends.

The woman’s 17-year-old son as well as the other suspect arrested, who is also a minor, were out on bail for assaulting a police officer at the time of Saturday’s attack, the Daily Telegraph added.

The mother said that her son had “been in a lot of trouble” and that while “a loving boy,” he was also “like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and was released from a juvenile detention center only last week. He had been serving time for robbery.

Earlier this week the Jewish National Fund expressed it’s intention to convene a gathering of its emissaries abroad in response to the beating attack, of which one of the victims was local JNF-KKL representative Shlomo Ben- Haim.

The Sydney attack is suspected of being racially motivated, with Ben-Haim having told the press that his assailants yelled “bloody Jews” during the melee.

Five Jews on their way home from synagogue were injured during the attack, when they were set upon by a gang of youths.

In response to the attack, New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies president Yair Miller encouraged community members “ to find a meaningful way to channel our feelings this coming Shabbat.

Options include attending synagogue, arranging meals with friends and family, taking a walk on Friday night or Saturday morning and meeting friends or family in parks and public spaces.”

“We also encourage everybody to come together next week – at The Great Synagogue on Sunday, November 10, at 6:30 p.m. The occasion is our annual commemoration of Kristallnacht. There is no comparison whatsoever between contemporary Australia and Nazi Germany, but the anniversary of Kristallnacht will be an opportune time for us to come together as a community, to reflect and to move forward positively,” he wrote on the Board of Deputies website.

“This has been a traumatic episode for our community. As traumatic as it was, it is important that we neither understate nor overstate its significance, and that we continue to live our lives as proudly identifying Australian Jews.”

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