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New York State allocates $10 million to protect religious institutions

‘With anti-Semitism and hate crimes on the rise,’ Governor Cuomo vows administration will ‘do all we can to protect our communities’

Security personnel search peoples' bags and clothes as they arrive for an interfaith service at Park East Synagogue in New York, Wednesday, October 31, 2018. (Seth Wenig)
Security personnel search peoples' bags and clothes as they arrive for an interfaith service at Park East Synagogue in New York, Wednesday, October 31, 2018. (Seth Wenig)

New York State has awarded $10 million for the protection of “religious-based institutions and non-public schools from hate crimes,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.

The money, which marks the second round of funding under New York’s Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant Program, will fund more than 200 projects, the Governor’s Office said in a statement.

Each eligible institution will receive $50,000 for additional security training, cameras, door-hardening, improved lighting, state-of-the-art technology and other related security upgrades.

“With anti-Semitism and hate crimes on the rise,” Cuomo said on Twitter, his administration would “do all we can to protect our communities against the threats we face.”

The announcement comes just over a week after New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said that he intended to establish a new unit focused on hate crimes separate from the existing NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force in response to the recent shooting of four people, including two Hasidic Jews, at a kosher grocery in New Jersey.

Anti-Semitic incidents in New York have increased significantly this year, according to data from the New York Police Department. Through September, there have been 163 reported incidents, up from 108 over the same period last year — an increase of 50 percent. Anti-Semitic incidents make up a majority of reported hate crimes in New York City.

The incidents include a rash of assaults on men in Brooklyn who are identifiably Jewish.

A poster for a book about Ruth Bader Ginsburg was vandalized in Brooklyn, March, 2019. (Chevi Friedman/Twitter/via JTA)

According to the Anti-Defamation League, in a statement earlier this year, at least 12 white supremacists have been arrested on allegations of plotting, threatening or carrying out anti-Semitic attacks in the US since the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue over one year ago.

The Anti-Defamation League also counted at least 50 incidents in which white supremacists are accused of targeting Jewish institutions’ property since a gunman killed 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue on October 27, 2018. Those incidents include 12 cases of vandalism involving white supremacist symbols and 35 cases in which white supremacist propaganda was distributed.

The ADL said its nationwide count of anti-Semitic incidents remains near record levels. It has counted 780 anti-Semitic incidents in the first six months of 2019, compared to 785 incidents during the same period in 2018.

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