National Jewish security arm calls for enhanced security

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The security arm of national U.S. Jewish groups called on Jewish institutions to enhance security because of a spate of attacks on Jewish targets in Europe in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Gaza Strip.

“In light of the current threat environment, SCN strongly encourages member organizations to increase their overall security posture,” said the bulletin distributed Friday to Jewish community institutions nationwide by the Secure Community Network in coordination with the Anti-Defamation League.

Among its recommendations: Requesting additional patrols from local law enforcement, limit access to a minimum, perhaps to a single entryway, monitoring social media and reviewing security measures, including cyber security.

“While there is no imminent or specific threat to the American Jewish community at this time, given the escalation in violence in the Middle East, an unprecedented level of violence and attacks against Jewish facilities across Europe, and the uptick of demonstrations and protests across the United States, it is prudent for Jewish community organizations to reassess their current security posture and consider increasing levels of security during this period of heightened security,” the statement said.

Paul Goldenberg, the director of SCN, a joint enterprise of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, emphasized that such security considerations should not deter Jews from attending synagogue or using Jewish facilities.

“As a direct result of the ongoing conflict I’m encouraging Jewish organizations to increase vigilance,” he told JTA. “The American Jewish community should not hesitate to attend synagogues or federations or JCCs or any events or rallies being considered.”

Goldenberg said one cause for concern was that anti-Israel protesters in the United States had in recent weeks shifted their focus from Israel diplomatic outposts to Jewish community buildings; there was one such protest this week at the JCC in Washington, D.C. and another was reportedly planned for the Cleveland area federation building on Friday evening.