French police patrol in the street in the Marais Jewish quarter in Paris.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Lethal anti-Semitism in Israel and across Europe has sparked enhanced security measures in Diaspora communities.
Following this week’s deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue and the stabbing of a Jewish man in Belgium, the security unit of British Jewry advised vigilance around Jewish institutions.
The British Community Security Trust, an organization devoted to the security of British Jewry, issued the warning Tuesday in a bulletin that contained nine instructions to Jewish institutions, including a call to “ensure visible external security patrols take place to deter and detect hostile activity” and immediate reporting to police of any suspicious behavior.
The instructions were issued following Tuesday’s Jerusalem attack that left five dead, but “also following the stabbing of a Jewish man on his way to synagogue in Antwerp on Saturday,” the bulletin noted.
“CST is not aware of any specific threat to the Jewish community in the UK. However, we urge everyone to remain vigilant and to report and challenge suspicious activity immediately to police and CST.”
Eric Pickles, Britain’s secretary of state for communities and local government, called CST chief executive David Delew to discuss the Jerusalem attack and express support, CST said.
Continental Europe has seen 14 deaths related to anti-Semitism since 2012, spanning France to Bulgaria to Belgium.
Speaking from New York, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the associate dean of the human rights NGO Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, told The Jerusalem Post the center is in touch with key Los Angeles police department officials. He noted the US “has the second largest Jewish community in the world and the intelligence folks have to be ahead of the curve.” He said there is a “deep sense of unease” because of the Palestinian terrorist attacks in Jerusalem.
“If I was in Jew in Britain, I would feel safer if the British political establishment and media spoke out against the cheerleaders of Islamic extremism,” Cooper said, adding there is “no pushback.”
In “North America we have a different kind of mentality,” he said.
The lack of countervailing forces to blunt anti-Semitic rhetoric and hostility in Europe has, according to seasoned observers, been an ongoing problem.
Across Europe, Jewish communities expressed shock and outrage at the attack.
CRIF, the umbrella organization of French Jewish communities and organizations, expressed its “horror.”
Its president, Roger Cukierman, said that the presence of Hamas, which praised the attack, in the government of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would “disqualify [the legitimacy] of initiatives for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.”
The Consistoire, the organ responsible for providing religious services to many Jewish communities in France, convened its council for a session on the attack.
The religious body said in a statement that the attack “reached a new level of barbarism” and sent its condolences to the families of the victims.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said in a statement, “Jewish communities around the world are united this morning in immeasurable grief.JTA contributed to this report.