U.S., Jewish security officials urge business as usual for the High Holidays
In a pre-Rosh Hashanah briefing, Jewish community and U.S. security officials urged Jewish institutions to be resilient and keep up morale in the face of terrorist threats.
Hundreds of officials from more than 100 institutions across the country participated in the conference call last Friday. Speakers included Paul Goldenberg, the director of Secure Community Network, the security arm of the Jewish Federations of North America, and a top Department of Homeland Security official whose identity SCN declined to reveal to the media.
The speakers briefed listeners on recent terrorist attacks, including last week’s series of bombings in the New York-New Jersey area believed to have been carried out by an Afghani-American man. One of the bombs injured 29 people.
In addition to reviewing security procedures, including training staff on how to deal with active shooters, and establishing relationships with local police, Goldenberg emphasized that U.S. Jewish institutions should continue business as usual and keep security unobtrusive, so it does not hinder High Holidays worship.
“We have come to learn that the goal of terrorists is to wear down our citizens’ spirits and endurance, destroying national morale,” he said.
Goldenberg said on the call that the barricades placed around Jewish worship in Europe have created a psychology of being under siege.
“According to a recent poll, nearly 70 percent of European Jews may decide not to attend High Holy Days services this year,” he said.
One key, Goldenberg said, was for the public not to panic or demand drastic changes in national policies.
Terrorists “recognize that if their attacks cause large-scale mobilization of the public to put pressure on their governments to change policies or positions, they could indeed enjoy agenda-setting powers over a democratic society,” he told the call.
Clinton and Trump, meeting with Netanyahu, share commitment to U.S.-Israel alliance
Hillary Clinton said she opposed any U.N. Security Council bid to impose a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just hours after a summit between the Israeli leader and Donald Trump.
Netanyahu’s meetings with the Democratic nominee and earlier Sunday with her Republican rival were a study in similarities — principally in pledging close defense cooperation with Israel — and differences, especially in Clinton’s holding up Israel as a model for pluralism and Trump lauding its erection of a separation wall from the Palestinians.
“The secretary reaffirmed her commitment to work toward a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiated directly by the parties that guarantees Israel’s future as a secure and democratic Jewish state with recognized borders and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity,” said a statement from the presidential campaign of the former secretary of state.
“Secretary Clinton reaffirmed her opposition to any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution, including by the U.N. Security Council,” the statement said.
Netanyahu, who is in New York to attend the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, met with the nominees on the eve of their first debate. He met with Trump at the real estate developer’s headquarters in Manhattan, Trump Tower, and Clinton at the W Hotel in the same borough. Her headquarters are across the river, in Brooklyn.
The prime minister sought assurances that neither nominee would join international efforts to preempt the direct talks with the Palestinians that Israel wants. Palestinian officials prefer international mediation until Israel freezes settlement expansion.
Netanyahu also reportedly fears that President Barack Obama in his final months in office will allow a Security Council resolution outlining a final status for a two-state solution to go through. Obama has taken pains to keep that from happening in his nearly eight years in office and has not indicated any plans to reverse course.
Unlike Clinton, Trump in his statement did not explicitly commit to opposing outside attempts to impose a solution, but he did check off other boxes on Netanyahu’s list of expectations from U.S. nominees, including the expectation that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and his pledge to recognize Jerusalem as its capital.
Clinton did not mention Jerusalem in her statement, but she affirmed Israel’s status as a “democratic Jewish state.” She said she would enforce last year’s deal between Iran and six major world powers to exchange sanctions relief for a rollback of nuclear development. Netanyahu vehemently opposed the deal.
Trump’s statement said only that the two men discussed the agreement at length; Trump in the past has said he would renegotiate the deal.
Clinton in her statement committed to combating the boycott Israel movement; Trump did not mention it. Both nominees swore to uphold defense assistance for and cooperation with Israel.
Clinton affirmed “the common values of democracy, equality, tolerance, and pluralism.” Trump’s statement said he “recognized that Israel and its citizens have suffered far too long on the front lines of Islamic terrorism” and discussed with Netanyahu Israel’s security wall in the West Bank.
One of the keenest differences in this election has been over diversity. Clinton embraces it, while Trump has delivered broadsides against Muslims and Mexicans and has pledged to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.