WHEN ISLAMIC STATE threatens Jewish schoolchildren in Turkey, as was revealed this week, the thoughts of parents everywhere are filled with horror.
Knowing this, Jewish security chiefs here in the UK took steps to “reassure” anxious parents that they’re on top of it, that they’re liaising with the right people, that their risk assessments are up-to-date, that they’re briefing their security personnel and that they’re alert.”
The Community Security Trust says it “appreciates concerns” but – as with Paris, Brussels and Copenhagen – the threat “does not relate to the UK”. Most of the community’s schools are well-protected. Millions of pounds of government money now means that Jewish schoolchildren play behind CCTV, volunteers, security and iron gates.
The culture guarding the playground is one of extreme vigilance. Still, it could happen anywhere, and needn’t be months in the planning. Four years ago, a 23-year-old man rode up to a Jewish school in Toulouse at 8am and opened fire on kids and parents after abandoning his original plan to target soldiers.
Jewish schools in France had already been on high alert beforehand and, subsequently, streets with Jewish institutions on them were closed to traffic. Other measures were explored, too, including plain-clothes officers and information-sharing meetings between Muslim and Jewish communities.
In the UK, the CST has further improved an already-close working relationship with police and counter-terrorism agencies.
Yet terrorism needn’t be a physical attack. It can include hoaxes designed to frighten and intimidate.
Thankfully, the threat level here does not compare to elsewhere in Europe, but such menaces will surely come. Let us all be ready for them.