Belgian, Dutch Jewish schools in shuttered for security reasons

Cnaan Liphshiz

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) – Jewish schools in Belgium and Amsterdam were temporarily shuttered following a police raid on suspected terrorists.

In Antwerp and Brussels, major Jewish schools suspended their activity on Friday as a response to security force’s decision to escalate Belgium’s level of alert to the penultimate Level 3, the online edition of the Joods Actueel monthly reported.

The closure in Belgium and Amsterdam was decided upon as a precautionary measure following the death of two suspects in a raid Thursday by counterterrorism troops in Verviers, near Belgium’s border with France.

Authorities believe the suspects were jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State terrorist group who planned to strike police officers, the news site reported.

“There is no concrete threat to our school following the unsafe situation in Belgium,” board members of the Cheider Haredi school in Amsterdam wrote to parents Thursday in an email obtained by JTA. But, “because of the uncertain situation that it creates, we found it would be irresponsible to open the school.”

Belgium and the Netherlands, which together with Luxembourg form the Benelux area, have an open border where passport inspections are rare.