Jewish Agency faces scathing criticism.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)
A new committee will help raise funds to provide security at Jewish institutions overseas that are vulnerable to attack, it was announced Tuesday.
Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky said the newly formed Emergency Aid for Jewish Communities Fund will help pay for increased security in the Diaspora in the wake of attacks such as the one that took place at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France earlier this year and left four Jews dead.
“We established this fund in order to prevent the next Toulouse, to help protect Jewish schools and all communal institutions and community members,” Sharansky said.
The fund will be established in partnership with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a charity whose donations come mostly from Christian supporters of Israel.
“The countries in which these communities are located have not provided them with adequate protection, as we’ve seen in recent attacks in France, and even more so in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, where Jewish communities are much weaker and are unable to provide for their own protection,” said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the founder of the fellowship.
“Without our assistance, these communities would remain exposed to a vast variety of threats.”
“We are very pleased to partner with the Jewish Agency as part of our ongoing efforts. We hope other bodies in the Jewish world and in Israel join this effort in order to help us prevent the recurrence of the horrible sights we’ve witnessed in the recent past,” Eckstein continued.
Over the past couple of decades Jewish institutions around the world have been targeted by extremists. In Argentina, over 100 people died in two separate bombings at the Israeli embassy in 1992 and a Jewish center in 1994. In 2008, Islamists carried out a multi-pronged assault on the Indian city of Mumbai that included storming the local Chabad house. In the ensuing siege, six people including a rabbi and his pregnant wife were shot dead.
The French government has increased spending on securing Jewish institutions in the wake of the attack last March, but communities elsewhere – especially smaller, less established ones – often struggle to foot the security bill.