SA Jews under threat - board

2014-10-03 12:11
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Johannesburg - The Jewish community in South Africa could be under threat following the war in Gaza, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies said on Friday.

"Jewish communities around the world are experiencing a sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents and threats," SAJBD chairperson Mary Kluk said in a statement.

"Regrettably the South African Jewish community is no exception and since the war in Gaza, this anti-Semitic rhetoric has reached levels unseen for many decades."

Kluk said it was concerned about an increased security risk to the South African Jewish community over holy days.

"The community leadership has been working in close co-operation with SA authorities to ensure that every precaution is taken to ensure our safety," she said.

Campus ups security

The Great Park Synagogue, on its website, says it had recently employed a trained security officer for added safety.

A new perimeter wall had also been built around the shul campus in Houghton.

"Another important facet of the shul's comprehensive security plan is the community security roster.

This allows for members to participate in securing the shul during busy times by volunteering as shul marshals," it said on its website.

The Star reported that concrete barriers had been put up and road closures were necessary during worship.

The Sandton shul, on its website, said anyone wanting to enter the property may be subjected to security questioning and searches.

Security tips

Some of the security tips listed include;

- Do not accept and bring parcels (gifts, bags, food, etc) to the shul from any person other than your immediate family;

- Do not provide information about the shul to unknown people - refer them to the shul office for assistance;

- Do not allow young children to walk to and from shul without adult supervision;

- Do not walk to and from shul alone but rather try to form walking groups;

- Do not wear visible jewellery regardless of its value;

- Contact your home's armed response company to escort you from shul if walking at night; and

- Do not leave any unidentified objects (gifts, bags, food, etc) lying in or around the shul.

Agence France-Presse on Thursday reported that Israel had tightened security in mixed Jewish-Muslim areas to ward off possible unrest this weekend when two important religious festivals coincide.

The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur begins on Friday evening, followed on Saturday by Eid al-Adha, which is celebrated by Muslims. In South Africa, Eid is celebrated on Sunday.

AFP reported that a 50-day conflict in and around Gaza killed nearly 2 200 Palestinians and more than 70 Israelis, ending with a ceasefire on 26 August.

Read more on:    sajbd  |  gaza  |  israel  |  middle east peace

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