In the wake of a spate of anti-Semitic terror attacks across Europe in recent months, hundreds of rabbis from around the Continent received self-defense and first aid training at a conference in Prague on Tuesday.
At the conference, organized by the Rabbinical Center of Europe and the European Jewish Association, participants were presented with possible terror attack scenarios on Jewish institutions. They were instructed on basic self-defense moves, as well as instruction provided by Israelife-United Hatzalah on how to provide initial medical treatment prior to the arrival of emergency services.
Conference organizer Rabbi Menachem Margolin said that "unfortunately, the vast majority of European Jewish institutions are not provided with sufficient security by their governments. This is why we have decided to provide rabbis and Jewish community leaders across the continent with basic knowledge and tools in order for them to be able to provide initial first aid and self-defense during a terror attack.”
The conference came after two very high-profile attacks against Jewish targets in recent months. On January 9, a gunman killed four Jewish victims at the Hyper Cacher kosher market in Paris
. That attack was followed by a February 15 attack
outside of a synagogue in Copenhagen Denmark in which a Jewish security guard was shot in the head and killed.
The Copenhagen shooting outside of the synagogue came shortly after another terrorist attack in the city targeting a free speech event at a cafe. Because police were on high alert from the earlier attack, they were present at the synagogue during the attack and were able to prevent a bigger tragedy.
Speaking after the Copenhagen attack, Rabbi Margolin said that "unfortunately, the Danish government, like other governments across the Continent, has not yet implemented the need to secure all Jewish institutions 24/7."
He added: “It is only because of the earlier shooting that took place in the Copenhagen cafe that police sent several officers to the synagogue, and they were able to return fire and chase the shooter. But the fact is that prior to the earlier incident, there were no police in the synagogue, and the unarmed security guard could have not prevented the terrorist from entering the synagogue and causing even more deaths," he concluded.
Following the Copenhagen attack, Margolin decided to organize Tuesday's self-defense and first aid training conference to enable community leaders to better protect their members in case of emergency.
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