Government grants charity £3m to protect Jewish community as schools close

13 Oct 2023 News

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Community Security Trust

A charity that helps to protect British Jews from antisemitism and related threats has been awarded £3m following a rise in antisemitic incidents in the UK this week.

Yesterday, prime minister Rishi Sunak announced that the government would provide the Community Security Trust (CST) with extra funding of £3m to “protect schools, synagogues and other Jewish community buildings”.

Today, several London-based Jewish schools have closed temporarily over concerns for the safety of their pupils and staff.

CST has advised schools not to close. On Wednesday, the charity said it had recorded at least 89 antisemitic incidents across the UK from 7 to 11 October.

£3m of extra funding 

Sunak said that the additional £3m funding will offer more protection against antisemitism attacks “in the wake of Hamas’ terrorist attacks in Israel”, bringing the total funding for the Jewish Community Protection Security grant to £18m for 2023-24.

The government said in its announcement that the money would enable CST to place additional guards in schools it supports throughout each school’s operating hours

“They will also be able to place additional security staff at outside synagogues on Friday nights and Saturday mornings,” it says.

Mark Gardner, chief executive of CST, said: “We’re grateful to the government for providing extra funding for security guards at Jewish community buildings, following the horrific Hamas terror attack on Israel.

“The support that we and the Jewish community are receiving from across government and policing is greatly reassuring and welcome at this difficult and worrying time.

“We will work with the Home Office to ensure that this extra funding is used in the most effective way to enhance the existing security that is in place and provide the Jewish community with the protection that they need and deserve.”

Schools close over safety concerns

In an online statement published on Wednesday, CST said that it has recorded 89 anti-Jewish hate incidents in the UK over the past four days, compared to 21 over the same period in 2022.

This provisional total, the charity said, includes six assaults, three cases of vandalism towards Jewish property, 14 direct threats and 66 cases of abusive behaviour.

According to a report by Sky News, four London-based Jewish schools are closing for the day due to safety concerns.

A spokesperson for CST told Civil Society: “We’re open and working to protect our community. We have also not been advising Jewish schools to close at the moment.”

Charities including British Red Cross, Oxfam and Islamic Relief have begun fundraising campaigns this week in response to the humanitarian crisis in Israel and Palestine.

Since 7 October, more than 2,000 people have been killed in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with thousands more injured.

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