Police at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas (File).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The doors are always kept open.
No one standing over them.
All may come and go. It’s the Jewish tradition of “welcome the stranger.” But this practice, this ageold, honored Jewish value may now very well change in Jewish facilities throughout the United States.
On Wednesday, January 18, 2017, there were at least 28 bomb threats against 28 Jewish facilities in 17 states.
At least 28 phone calls were placed by a female that morning, informing Jewish community centers that there was a bomb in the building. Hundreds of men, women and children quickly evacuated as police and FBI rushed in.
Were there any bombs? Not one.
It was a hoax. Or was it? The psychological terrorism, designed to disturb, disrupt and cause fear, was very real.
Did American Jews really think that their tranquility would go unnoticed by those who hate them? That soft targets are exactly that? The rude awakening is here.
Good morning, American Jewish brothers and sisters. Welcome to how we live and work in Israel. Only difference is we are prepared and as such do not fear entering our shopping malls, beaches, restaurants and holy places.
The bomb threats that were called in today and last week, when 16 Jewish facilities were warned of explosives that were ready to go off, more than likely were not the work of jihadists. They don’t operate like that.
Jihadists don’t warn their potential victims. They simply murder as many as they can and praise Allah.
The pattern here, of creating fear among Jewish communities, suggests the culprits are neo-Nazis. For the past month they have been playing mind games with the citizens of Whitefish, Montana. Making online threats against the Jewish residents and proposing an armed march through the ski town’s quiet streets.
Do American Jews truly have much to fear? Not really, if they take a few simple steps. Measures that we live by in Israel that are not so bad – in fact they truly provide a sincere feeling of security. For example, Jewish facilities throughout the US need to buy walkthrough metal detectors and place them and an armed security guard at the entrance of their buildings.
There are many other security measures that can be taken, but let’s start with metal detectors and armed guards. Let’s start with creating a “sterile and safe environment” for the Jewish children who attend Hebrew school, Temple services and swim and play tennis at the Jewish centers. Let’s provide American Jewish children and their parents with real security that will reduce if not eliminate any fear and anxiety they may have experienced on January 18.
If we eliminate our fear, we eliminate those who use fear as a weapon.
The real upside to these bomb threats is that they were a warning.
If we ignore this warning, the next bomb could be very real.The author is president of Leyden Communications Israel, a crisis communications, public affairs and digital PR organization with offices in New York and Ra’anana. He has served as an officer in the IDF Spokespersons Office and as a senior consultant to the Foreign Ministry