Jewish orgs. slam Belgian gov't for removing armed guards from synagogues

The move comes during the sixth anniversary of the 2014 antisemitic terrorist attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels, when a radical Islamist returning from Syria opened fire, killing four people.

Antwerp, Belgium (photo credit: REUTERS)
Antwerp, Belgium
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jewish organizations slammed the Belgian government on social media over its decision to remove the military guards that had been protecting Antwerp's synagogues, the Algemeiner reported.
The move comes during the sixth anniversary of the 2014 antisemitic terrorist attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels, when a radical Islamist returning from Syria opened fire in the museum, resulting in the death of four people.
Ever since this incident, Jewish sites in Belgium have been under the protection of the military, the Algemeiner reported.
Taking to Twitter, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) condemned the decision to remove armed protection of synagogues.
“We are deeply alarmed by Antwerp’s plans to withdraw armed protection from the city’s synagogues,” the AJC tweeted.
“The city must immediately reverse course and guarantee the full protection of all citizens at all times.
“The safeguarding of Jewish life is nonnegotiable!”
Also taking to Twitter, B'nai B'rith International criticized the move, specifically that it was made on the anniversary of the 2014 terrorist attack.

On this day in 2014, “the terrorist attack on the Jewish Museum of #Belgium took place,” the organization said. “Today news surfaced of plans to cut security for synagogues in Antwerp.
“The attack must be a stark reminder, Belgium must be firm to protect its #Jewish community.”
The Forum of Jewish Organizations of Flemish Jews also criticized the decision, saying that “The Jewish community needs more, not less, protection in these difficult times.”
Antwerp’s center has about 100 Jewish institutions servicing around 18,000 Jews, who are predominantly haredi.
Antisemitic incidents have occurred in the city before.
In 2018, an unidentified man was caught on film stealing mezuzahs from the door frames of 20 homes in the city.

In another incident in 2017, Antwerp police apprehended and briefly detained a man who allegedly assaulted a haredi man on the street while shouting “Jew.”
Cnaan Lipshiz/JTA contributed to this report.