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Security Around Jewish Communities Increased

Aug 1, 2010
Following the Charlie Hebdo arracks in Paris, there has been a lot of unrest and fear for Jewish communities around Europe, with cities like Manchester, Birmingham, and London on high alert. Once it emerged that gunman Amedy Coulibaly had specifically targeted a Jewish supermarket when the three day terror attack came to an end, Jewish communities were put on high alert. However, a recent poll conducted by the Jewish Chronicle, suggests that members of the Jewish community have not seen or experienced any increased security. Jewish schools, synagogues, and communities have been practising their response to any gunman attack, and sentiment from community leaders and community members has reached new lows.

Members of the Jewish community said, in one poll, that they did not feel that they had a long-term future in British society. Home Secretary Theresa May moved to try and calm the situation, saying that “Without its Jews, Britain would not be Britain.†Police patrols have supposedly been increased, but with many individuals saying that they do not see the increased security, it raises the question of whether the threat is only being taken seriously in the capital.

Britain’s Jewish community is believed to consist of more than a quarter of a million people, representing the second largest Jewish community in Europe, behind France. Many members of this community have expressed their concerns, that if anti-Semitic attacks can happen in Paris, then they can certainly happen in London and the UK, as well as elsewhere in the rest of the world.

Community Security Trust is a charity that offers security advice and information to the Jewish community, as a whole, and they have reported an unprecedentedly high number of calls to their hotlines. As well as the recent attacks, figures have been released that show 2014 to have had the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents the country has seen, although analysts warn that the figures are not entirely reliable because some of the incidents were directly related to events such as the Israeli incursion into Gaza and that this does not mean a growing anti-Semitic feeling in the country.

The government promised that patrols around Jewish communities would be increased following the Paris attacks. Many Jewish schools and some of the country’s better known synagogues already have a regular police presence so the change would not have proven that significant in some areas. However, one member of the community said that the police guards had become noticeably bulkier, because they were now wearing bulletproof vests, and went on to say that that in itself is disconcerting.

One poll conducted by Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Chronicle, showed that 58% of respondents said that they had not noticed an increase in police presence in their community since the attack. Only 40% said that they had seen a higher level of policing, and 2% were unsure. Schools may not have witnessed more police patrols, but some have added terror drills to their usual fire drills, so that they can ensure the safety of the children in the event of an attack similar to that in Paris.
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