Why SA Jewry faces highest security level
SA Jewish Report’s non-executive chairman, Howard Feldman, and the president of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Zev Krengel, in conversation…
South African Jews have been blessed until now with the luxury of naivety. Sadly the time has now come for us to join others in the Diaspora where heightened community security has been a way of life for so long.
Much has been said with regard to the specifics as to our current situation in South Africa and anyone who has driven past a shul recently would have noticed the bollards positioned ahead of the festivals. Many people, however remain unclear as to the real facts, and in an attempt to provide such information, the SAJR will over the coming weeks be speaking to Zev Krengel who is at the forefront of this situation.
According to Krengel, “We will be using this platform to communicate any information that is relevant to the situation and we ask the community to refer to this site and specifically this column regularly, as we will update as and when necessary”.
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It needs to be noted that although we welcome comments, we will not be publishing them. The site along with all of social media is not only read by those who support us and the information presented needs to be monitored.
For that reason we encourage people to respond in the comment blocks with questions, observations and thoughts, and we will endeavour to address them privately. Should we see a common theme emerge, we will try as much as possible to provide guidance and answers.
The situation is as follows: There is a “Level 4” threat to the community. This is the highest level of threat without specific information as to timing and target available. It needs to be kept in mind that this level is not higher than most places in Europe. According to Zev Krengel we have outstanding leadership in all areas who are committed and devoted to the safety of our community.
“The CSO is working tirelessly, together with all other communal bodies, such as CAP and Hatzollah and has activated relevant resources from state security to local law enforcement and public space security companies,” says Krengel. “There is also an extensive medical plan in place, utilising all medical resources. We have support from the highest levels of SA government.”
What can the community do?
When asked what we can all do to assist, Krengel’s message was clear: Vigilance and awareness. Suspicious vehicles, suspicious people and anyone taking photos of installations, needs to be reported immediately. We know our areas, we know who belongs and we need to take advantage of that knowledge.
That in truth is one of the most critical aspects of security. But most importantly we need to be at shul and we need to celebrate the Festivals as they are meant to be celebrated. “I will be at shul with my children,” says Krengel. “They are very excited about the chagim as always and I see no reason why this year should be different”.
Call the single ICC emergency number from anywhere:
086 18 000 18 remember it as 086-Chai-thousand-Chai
Whereas most of us are concerned with what to wear and what to eat over the next few days (and how to avoid the irritating Aunt who seems to appear year after year), Jewish community leadership has worked tirelessly to make sure that we can walk to shul safely and be safe in shul. As a result of this dedication and with the help of G-d, may our biggest worry be how long the rabbi is going to speak for.
Please keep an eye on this column for updates.
ALSO READ ON THIS WEBSITE: INCREASED THREAT TO SA JEWRY