LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 09: Thousands of pro-Palestine demonstrators protest outside the Israeli Embassy on October 09, 2023 in London, United Kingdom. The group is standing in solidarity with the resistance against Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism. (Photo by Leila Dougan/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

Jewish Schools in London, New York Close Doors Over Security Concerns As Antisemitism Surges

At least four Jewish faith schools in London shut on Friday, incidentally the Hamas “day of jihad”, citing security fears for their pupils.

Four schools including Torah Vodaas Primary, Ateres Beis Yaakov Primary, and Menorah High School in London are closed until next week, apparently part of an emerging move in some Western cities to close businesses and organisations today after a global threat of Islamic jihad was made.

The schools told parents on Thursday evening that they would not open on Friday, and while there was no specific threats to those schools, it was nevertheless a decision taken for the safety of the children attending them, the schools said. The BBC reports one school told parents to keep their children at home on Friday because of “the risk of violence on the streets”, another cited planned protests for its decision.

The chairman of the Menorah school told the broadcaster that: “We have this situation where where we have an international day of rage called for. We’ve had horrible demonstrations in London openly displaying antisemitism and celebrating Jewish deaths… we’re worried that on a day like this that an individual might do something outstandingly stupid and it’s very difficult to control against that.”

Hamas, the terrorist organisation that launched a massive terror attack that killed at least 1,300 in southern Israel on Saturday has called for what they call a “Al-Aqsa Flood” today, a global “day of Jihad”. Hamas called on Palestinians to rise up against Israeli soldiers and said Friday 13th should be “a day of general mobilization in our Arab and Islamic world and among the free people of the world… It is a day for sacrifice, heroism, and dedication.”

London is not the only city to see its Jewish faith schools close on Friday. New York has seen “multiple” schools close today, reports state, with children being told to stay and home and engage in remote learning instead. In New York as in London, other schools received enhanced security with Rabbi Hillel Lavery-Yisraëli telling the New York Post that the school is “worried about copycats or sympathy attacks… It’s just for tomorrow. They want to be cautious — so who am I to criticize it? We’re all in a stressful situation here, living through this crazy Twilight Zone.”

It isn’t just schools, either. As reported, New York offices including brokerages, real estate, and tech companies gave staff the opportunity to work remotely on Friday as a precaution against the “day of Jihad”.

“We encourage you to monitor the local news and use your judgment regarding your commute to determine if working from home tomorrow is a better option for you,” a message of Google employees read, according to Bloomberg. “Our offices will remain open, but as always we urge you to prioritize your personal health, safety and wellbeing. Please work with your manager to make sure you have what you need.”

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