Bomb Threats Against Jewish Museums in London and Sydney

LONDON -
The Jewish Museum in London, England. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The Jewish Museum in London was evacuated on Monday following a noontime phone call that contained a bomb threat. Baruch Hashem, it turned out to be a hoax. Around 100 people, including children from two schools, were in the building at the time.

A spokesperson for the museum said that it was “evacuated as a precaution following a security threat.” They continued: “We work closely on our security procedures with the police and the Community Security Trust [a charity that represents and advises the Jewish community in the U.K. on security issues and anti-Semitism]. We were able to evacuate the building quickly and safely.”

The Museum thanked both staff and visitors for their patience and co-operation.

Although the Museum is behind a discreet frontage in London’s trendy Camden Town district, it is a popular destination both for tourists and residents, as well as many school groups who visit to learn about Jewish life in the U.K., both past and present. It’s therefore easy to find out its location and contact details.

The Sydney Jewish Museum

On Tuesday, the Sydney Jewish Museum was also evacuated “as a precaution” following a bomb threat. A neighboring building that houses a number of Jewish organizations, including the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, Jewish Communal Appeal and United Israel Appeal, was also evacuated. Police and security officials made a thorough search of the two buildings and allowed staff to return two and a half hours later.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff told JTA that following the precautionary evacuation, “the NSW Police secured the area, the all-clear was subsequently given and we were assured there was no risk to the facility or the community. We wish to express our gratitude to the NSW Police for their swift response.”

These hoax calls come on the back of a wave of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers and schools across the U.S. A similar, smaller wave of calls took place in the U.K. over four weeks in January and February, when as many as 100 schools, both Jewish and non-Jewish, across the country received bomb threats by phone. Police declared the threats “not credible.” It is believed that they were made from outside the U.K., and the issue was handled by the police at a national level.