Leaders Decry Anti-Semitic Attacks, Call for Security Funding

anti-semitic attacks
Rabbi David Niederman speaking at the rally Monday. (Office of Councilman Chaim Deutsch)

Political and Jewish community leaders are continuing to call on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to provide funding for security at houses of worship, amid a spate of anti-Semitic attacks across the city and country, and attacks on other houses of worship across the world.

“No one should feel unsafe because of their faith,” said New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson at a press conference Monday outside the offices of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn. “People are still frightened. As a politician, it hurts to say that. I want everyone in this great city to feel safe and protected.”

New York has recently seen a series of attacks on visibly Orthodox Jews, particularly in the streets of Crown Heights and Williamsburg. Deadly shootings at a Jewish congregation in Pittsburgh and a Chabad in Poway, California, have caught national attention, and scores of people were killed in recent attacks on mosques in New Zealand and churches in Sri Lanka.

“The rise in hate crimes in New York City — and physical assaults against Chassidic Jews in particular — is deeply disturbing,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch at the rally. “There is a 106 percent rise in anti-Semitic crimes as compared to this time last year and the city — and our mayor — must find a way to combat that hate.”

The City Council in January passed legislation sponsored by Deutsch to create the Office of Hate Crime Prevention, which will conduct outreach and educate people about the impact of hate crimes.

Following the Poway attack, Councilman Kalman Yeger sponsored legislation for New York City funding for security guards at houses of worship. More than 40 councilmembers have joined the call for de Blasio to provide the security funding.

The NYPD has recently increased patrols and police presence at houses of worship and other sensitive locations.

In response to Hamodia’s request for comment about Yeger’s bill, Jose Bayona, a City Hall spokesman, said, “People should feel safe when exercising their religious freedoms, which is why the NYPD has close partnerships with houses of worship to create a safe atmosphere for New Yorkers. We will review the City Council’s proposal.”

Since the Poway attack on April 27, Jewish leaders around the country have been calling for increased security funding for houses of worship. New York City Councilmembers held a rally at City Hall two weeks ago with Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders two weeks ago to call on de Blasio to provide security funding at houses of worship. And last week, New York state Senator Simcha Felder called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow security funds currently allotted to private schools, camps and cultural centers, to also be used for providing panic buttons to houses of worship.


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