In a move underscored by an escalation of caution, London police have expanded their presence within the city’s Jewish quarters in a bid to quell potential discord in the wake of recent events.
A trio of prominent Jewish schools, all located within the northern region of the city, have announced they will suspend operations this Friday. The rationale behind the closures is tied to the possibility of Hamas-related protests. A missive imparted on parents at one such institution cautioned against allowing their children outside, due to rising fears of potential clashes and violence.
Menorah High School, Torah Vodaas Primary School, and Ateres Beis Yaakov, have proactively communicated the temporary closures to parents through formal letters. However, The Community Security Trust, a charity organization assisting British Jews with security counsel, insists educational institutions should maintain regular schedules.
Emphasizing the safety of her student body, Esther Pearlman, head teacher of Menorah High School for Girls – home to 389 pupils, referenced impending protests scheduled for Friday in her communication with parents. The letter of advice, viewed by BBC, mentioned that the police’s concern orbits the potential for the students to venture outdoors due to the school closure, thereby increasing the risk.
A resonating note from Ateres Beis Yaakov, a primary school with 35 pupils, highlighted a message from Khaled Meshaal, ex-chief of Hamas, calling for worldwide protests in support of the Palestinians this Friday.
At Torah Vodaas Primary School, a boys’ academy with 372 students on its rolls, Rabbi Avrohom Gurwitz – a key figure in the Jewish Haredi community provided guidance to the concerned parents. Parents were reassured of there being no immediate threats to the school, but the decision to close was taken keeping the best interests of their children at heart.
However, notwithstanding these apprehensions, a voice from the Community Security Trust (CST) has firmly advised that schools continue to operate as per normal. The Ministry of Education, in partnership with the APS, safeguards Jewish schools, having pledged an additional £3m towards the cost of security entities beyond the existent protective measures.
These measures are in response to a significant rise in anti-Semitic incidents, a jump of four times the number seen in the same period in the prior year. This has prompted proactive measures for the protection of vital civilization structures by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, such as synagogues, schools and other Jewish community centers. The Community Security Trust (CST), which monitors such instances, will be the recipient of these funds.
In such challenging times, the global community and local law enforcement entities are reminded of the preemptive and consequent actions necessary to ensure safety and peace of mind. Amidst rising fluctuations in the social fabric, nurturing a sense of unity and safety with their fellow citizens in all corners of the city remains the foremost priority for the guardians of London’s Jewish communities.