FBI on the Lookout for Antisemitic Threats Ahead of Passover

(USNewsMag.com) – The director of the FBI claims that threats to the Jewish community in America have been rising even before the Oct. 7th attack on Israel by Hamas and that federal law enforcement will be on high alert for potential threats ahead of the holiday of Passover because the threat has since tripled.

On Wednesday, April 17th, FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke at an event before security officials from across the nation and said that the bureau remains “particularly concerned” that large gatherings are potential targets for “lone actors,” as well as “high profile events” and “symbolic or religious locations.” Wray said the expectation of violence is “particularly a concern” leading into the Passover holiday, which started on Monday, April 22nd, and will end on Tuesday, April 30th.

Wray said that before the attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Oct. 7th, 2023, there had been increasing antisemitic sentiments and violence in the US, but that the number has since tripled following the attack. The FBI director said that between the date of the attack and Jan. 30 of this year, there have been “three times more” investigations opened related to anti-Jewish hate crimes than in the four months preceding the attack. He added that these investigation statistics represent threats to Jewish institutions which are “very real” and should not be ignored.

The event was organized and hosted by a Jewish community nonprofit called Secure Community Network, a safety and training organization whose advice one survivor of the Texas synagogue attack in 2022 credited for helping to save his life.

According to an audit of the Anti-Defamation League released on Tuesday, April 16th, incidents have increased dramatically since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas conflict. A total of 8,873 incidents were tracked in 2023 – 5,204 of which were reported between the day of the Hamas attack and the last day of the year. The organization noted that this number represents the highest amount of anti-Jewish incidents reported since it began tracking the number in 1979.

Wray assured his audience he wasn’t trying to scare anyone, but that he feels “continued vigilance” is necessary, and that law enforcement and intelligence communities are “focused on the safety and security” of the Jewish community. He also noted an increased threat from Iran as an additional concern and reason for vigilance.

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