“It was an absolute recognition that this was a violent attack targeted at the Jewish community,” stated Nathan Diament, government director for public coverage on the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, which hosted the decision.
Attorney General Merrick Garland, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and representatives from the White House made very clear, declarative statements that “they understand this was antisemitic, they understand this targeted Jews, they are viewing this as an act of terror … no ifs, ands or buts,” Diament stated.
“Faith based communities have and will likely continue to be targets of violence by both domestic violent extremists and those inspired by foreign terrorists,” stated the letter from Paul Abbate, FBI deputy director, and John D. Cohen, the highest intelligence official at DHS.
During Tuesday’s assembly, which was held days after the Colleyville, Texas, hostage standoff at Congregation Beth Israel, FBI and DHS management additionally underscored that synagogue safety throughout the US will profit from extra “two-way communication.”
For instance, FBI Director Christopher Wray inspired synagogues to ascertain direct traces of communication with their native FBI discipline places of work, if they do not have already got them.
Officials instructed the group that the Texas investigation is ongoing and they’re wanting into the suspect’s potential connections to individuals.
The Orthodox Union is the most important Orthodox Jewish umbrella group within the nation, representing almost 1,000 synagogues. There have been 1,200 to 1,500 representatives within the teleconference, Diament stated.
Synagogue safety is a “top issue” for the group, he stated, including that “the events in Texas have us all reaching out, talking to our congregations, rechecking security protocols and trying to identify more resources, unfortunately, for more security measures.”
“Everybody who attends a synagogue, whether it’s on a weekly basis on Shabbat or a daily basis, or what have you, everyone, including myself, are thinking that could have just as well been my synagogue, right?” he stated.
On the decision, DHS mentioned the division’s efforts to get federal funding to faith-based organizations with a view to improve safety.
The Nonprofit Security Grant Program has been “immensely useful,” Diament stated, noting that correct safety measures are very costly.
However, the grant program is at the moment funded at $180 million a 12 months, with a aim to get to $360 million a 12 months, Diament stated.