Wednesday, June 17, 2015

17-Jun-15: In Australia, heightened security concerns for Melbourne's Jews

A suspicious vehicle triggered a security scramble near one of
Melbourne's Jewish schools in August 2014 [Image Source]
In Melbourne [for background, see our post from yesterday "16-Jun-15: Australians, troubled by Islamist terror in their midst, are more worried than they have been for years"], the arm of the Jewish community that stays watchful for signs of radical extremism (alternatively insert your preferred euphemism) has issued an alert today:
The Community Security Group (CSG) announced today that there is new and current intelligence which indicated that a radicalised person may attack the Melbourne Jewish community. “No particular facility or organisation has been identified and no particular timeframe has been specified,” CSG said in a letter to key communal organisations today. The letter said that CSG enacted its internal escalation plan last week and that the information has been conveyed to Victoria Police and other Australian security agencies. CSG “is working in collaboration with those organisations to verify its authenticity and respond accordingly.” CSG is calling on the community to take their own safety measures and to report any form of suspicious activity to the 24/7 CSG hotline – 1300 000 274. [Australian Jewish News, today]
(There's additional background at the excellent Jwire news site.)

Melbourne is generally reckoned to be home to about 60,000 Jews, making it the largest of Australia's Jewish communities. The CSG is manned by trained volunteers.

Amid what the Melbourne Age called "heightened terror concerns" and the need to "bolster security at schools, offices and religious buildings", Melbourne's Beth Weizmann Community Centre received a substantial government grant in May 2015 to enable security improvements, including a purpose-built security wall "to make the building bomb-resistant."

Sign of the times.

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