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13 Oct, 2023 02:26

Jewish schools temporarily close in London

The UK government said it would spend £3 million to boost security in Jewish communities
Jewish schools temporarily close in London

Several Jewish schools in London have suspended classes for the rest of the week, citing concerns over potential anti-Semitic reprisals due to ongoing fighting in Israel and Gaza.

Menorah High School, Ateres Beis Yaakov Primary School, Torah Vodaas Primary School – all Jewish educational centers in the London area – announced the move to parents on Thursday evening, according to Sky News. The outlet said a fourth unnamed school would also be closed Friday, with all set to reopen next Monday.

A rabbi at Torah Vodaas said the decision was not “taken lightly,” though assured parents that there was “no specific threat to our school.”

One father cited by Sky News said he was told to alter his children’s school uniforms “so they are not signaling in any way they are Jewish,” adding that he is “scared for myself and my family” due to religious and ethnic tensions stoked by the violent flare-up in Israel. 

The Community Security Trust, an NGO created to provide protection to Jewish cultural centers, has reported a 300% spike in “antisemitic incidents” in the UK in recent days, including six assaults and three cases of “desecration of Jewish property.”

Earlier on Thursday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a £3 million package to “protect schools, synagogues and other Jewish community buildings.” The money will be distributed through CST, which will work closely with local police.

Fighting in Israel erupted last Saturday, after Palestinian militants launched a major assault with waves of rockets and commandos. The Israeli government has responded harshly to the attack, pounding Gaza with air strikes while mobilizing hundreds of thousands of troops to fight. Around 1,300 people have been killed in Israel, according to local officials, in addition to more than 1,500 in Gaza and thousands more wounded on both sides.