Photo Credit: Eva Rinaldi via Flickr
Australian-Israeli billionaire Frank Lowy

Five out of the top 10 wealthiest Australians are Jewish, according to the 2019 Financial Review Rich List, which includes the richest living Australian Anthony Pratt, who is worth $15.57 billion, Harry Triguboff, $13.54 billion, Frank Lowy, (who moved to Israel), $8.56 billion, and Ivan Glasenberg, $7.17 billion.

Meanwhile, Vic Alhadeff, chief executive of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, on Monday told ABC News Australia that “almost 20% of the Jewish community of Australia lives below the poverty line.”

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Rachel Tanny, of Connections, Opportunities, Activities (COA) in the Eastern Sydney suburb of Woollahra, said some local Jews own homes they can’t afford to keep, but as a result “they have too many assets to receive the type of assistance that they require.”

So these Jews who no longer enjoy their past affluence are sitting on property worth millions and as a result are being deprived of the resources available to poor tenants in low income housing.

“People want to remain in the home where they raised their families, and they have better health outcomes and longevity if they do age in place,” Tanny told ABC News.

Claire Vernon, chief executive of Jewish Care, told the news outfit that older Jews who sell their homes and move to more affordable quarters also give up their social connections in the process and live in isolation, distant from their synagogue and other familiar community centers.

“But if you’re on a pension, the Eastern suburbs [of Sydney] are completely unaffordable,” she admitted.

Which brings us back to the wealthy Jews of Australia. Vic Alhadeff told ABC News Frank Lowy ($8.56 billion), who arrived in Australia with nothing to become a billionaire, is also one of the continent’s greatest philanthropist.

According to Alhadeff, “15 years ago, Frank set up the Lowy Institute as a world-leading thinktank, and when he did so, he said, ‘I’m doing this as my way of saying thank you to Australia, for giving my family and other Jewish Australians a second chance at life.'”

The Lowy family has donated to numerous groups that assist the Jewish poor, and it is to their credit, for instance, that Australia’s meals on wheels program continues to operate in those wealthy suburbs where Jewish residents of multi-million-dollar homes can’t afford to buy food.

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