A counter-terror expert who formerly held a high-level intelligence post with the New York Police Department will lead a new initiative to secure Jewish institutions in New York City, two Jewish umbrella groups said Monday.
The announcement of the hiring of Mitchell Silber comes as the city is grappling with what has been described as an anti-Semitism crisis, following a rash of attacks in the last several weeks in and around the city.
Silber will oversee six security professionals, who will help secure Jewish institutions in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County as part of a $4 million Community Security Initiative, according to the UJA-New York Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.
“The recent wave of anti-Semitic crimes over the past week, including the horrific attack in Monsey, New York during a Hanukkah celebration, demonstrates the urgent need for additional levels of security for Jewish institutions,” said UJA-Federation CEO Eric S. Goldstein in a statement.
Silber served as the director of Intelligence Analysis for the NYPD from 2007 to 2012 and has held a number of positions at firms doing threat analysis and security intelligence, including for Jewish communities in Europe. He is a lecturer at Columbia and the author of a book on al-Qaeda’s role in terror attacks against the West.
The security initiative was first announced in September, before the current spate of attacks, and is intended to help develop security infrastructure and train guards and others at synagogues, schools, community centers and other Jewish institutions.
Not included in the initiative will be Monsey, New York, where a man stabbed five people at a Hanukkah party on Saturday, and Jersey City, New Jersey, the site of a deadly shooting at a kosher shop earlier this month.
Rockland County, which includes Monsey, announced Monday that a private firm has volunteered to operate armed security for certain synagogues. County Executive Ed Day denounced the attack during a press conference Monday.
Officials in the New York area have pointed to alarming increase in attacks on Jews throughout the city and the region in recent weeks.
New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said Saturday’s savagery was the 13th anti-Semitic attack in New York since December 8.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday he was he was increasing police presence in Jewish communities of New York, as well as adding security cameras and multi-ethnic community safety patrols, to tackle what he called an anti-Semitism “crisis.”
“It has taken a more and more violent form,” de Blasio told NPR, adding that the “forces of hate have been unleashed.”
Agencies contributed to this report