ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 148

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7 more JCCs, ADL office evacuated in latest bomb scare

28 Jewish community centers and day schools cleared out in total on Monday, in fifth wave of bomb threats since January

Children and staff heading back to a Jewish school in Davie, Florida, on February 27, 2017 after police gave the all-clear following a hoax bomb threat. (screen capture: Erica Rakow/Twitter)
Children and staff heading back to a Jewish school in Davie, Florida, on February 27, 2017 after police gave the all-clear following a hoax bomb threat. (screen capture: Erica Rakow/Twitter)

The Anti-Defamation League’s San Francisco office was evacuated, and an additional seven Jewish Community Centers were also cleared after receiving bomb threats on Monday evening, bringing to 29 the number of Jewish institutions targeted on Monday.

Secure Community Network, the security arm of the national Jewish community, reported evacuations in Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona; Orange County, Palo Alto, San Diego and Long Beach in California; and Mercer Island in suburban Seattle, Washington state.

The most recent evacuations bring to 28 the number of JCCs and Jewish schools evacuated on Monday, the fifth wave of threats since the beginning of the year.

Earlier evacuations on Monday were reported in JCCs in Asheville, North Carolina; Birmingham, Alabama; York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Tarrytown, Plainview and Staten Island, New York; Indianapolis, Indiana; Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Davie, Florida; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Wilmington, Delaware.

Jewish day schools in Rockville, Maryland, and Fairfax, Virginia, both outside Washington, DC; and Davie, Florida, outside Miami, were also evacuated.

Parts of the Providence Road campus of the Shalom Park non-profit Jewish organization in Charlotte, North Carolina, were also partly evacuated, The Charlotte Observer reported; the Jewish Federation of South Jersey in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, was also cleared .

No actual bombs have been found at any of the dozens of institutions that have received bomb threats in recent weeks.

Those inside the buildings were evacuated and law enforcement was called in to investigate the threats. All clears were given in a number of cases.

JCC Bomb Threat

JCC BOMB THREAT – The Davie JCC has been evacuated after a possible bomb threat http://bit.ly/2mvSM7w

Posted by WPLG Local 10 on Monday, February 27, 2017

The director of the Birmingham JCC, which has been targeted three times in the past two months, told local media the threats were “very difficult, very challenging, very fearful.”

Several of the JCCs targeted were near Philadelphia, where a day earlier a Jewish cemetery was found vandalized, with some 100 headstones damaged or knocked over after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, was targeted the previous week.

This is the second time the ADL has been targeted in one week. Last Wednesday, the ADL’s New York headquarters also fielded a bomb threat which law enforcement officials determined to be “not credible.”

“One threat or evacuation is one too many, and yet we’ve now seen more than 20 incidents in a single day not just to ADL, but to children’s schools and community centers — and more than 90 incidents since the start of this year,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “The level of threats and incidents is astounding, and must not stand. We will do everything in our power to combat this wave of anti-Semitism.”

The call to the ADL’s San Francisco office was logged Monday at 4:19 p.m. local time.

The JCC Association of North America urged federal officials to identify and capture the perpetrator or perpetrators of the hoaxes.

Children evacuating from a Jewish school in Davie, Florida, on February 27, 2017. (screen capture: Erica Rakow/Twitter)
Children evacuating from a Jewish school in Davie, Florida, on February 27, 2017. (screen capture: Erica Rakow/Twitter)

“Anti-Semitism of this nature should not and must not be allowed to endure in our communities,” said David Posner, director of strategic performance at the JCCA, in a statement. “The Justice Department, Homeland Security, the FBI, and the White House, alongside Congress and local officials, must speak out – and speak out forcefully – against this scourge of anti-Semitism impacting communities across the country.

“Actions speak louder than words,” he continued.

Paul Goldenberg, director of the Secure Community Network, told JTA shortly after reports of the bomb threats began coming in that his organization was working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to identify the perpetrators and stop the threats. SCN is an affiliate of the Jewish Federations of North America that advises Jewish groups and institutions on security. SCN also is working closely with the Anti-Defamation League, Goldenberg said.

Calling the continued threats “disturbing,” he said they are “impacting the lives of our communities out there.”

Goldenberg also said the Jewish institutions are “behaving in an exemplary manner” in the wake of the threats.

“Our Jewish schools and our JCCs continue to train for this, continue to execute well-placed measures,” he said, going on to praise the staffs of US Jewish institutions as “vigilant.”

“The goal of these people is to wear us down,” Goldenberg said. “But we are back in our schools, we are back in our JCCs.”

Earlier Monday, a spokesman for US President Donald Trump said the president was “disappointed and concerned” by ongoing incidents of anti-Semitism throughout the country.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at a press briefing that Trump “continues to condemn these and any other form of anti-Semitic and hateful acts in the strongest terms. No one in America should feel afraid to follow the religion of their choosing freely and openly.”

On Monday a week ago, 11 JCCs across the country received bomb threats from callers, the fourth such wave of threats in five weeks. In all, several dozen JCCs have received bomb threats, some multiple times.

Jewish groups and others have raised alarms over the bomb threats and cemetery attacks, pointing to an uptick in anti-Semitic incidents in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.

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