European rabbis are taking pro-active measures in preparation for the next anti-Semitic attack.
Europe has seen a surge in anti-Semitic attacks, and several Jews have recently lost their lives in a number of cities on the continent. Anticipating that this lethal trend will continue, rabbis, who are a visible and preferred target, have decided to learn self-defense.
Hundreds of rabbis convened on Tuesday and received basic training at a Prague conference organized by the Rabbinical Center of Europe and the European Jewish Association (EJA).
Participants were presented with scenarios of possible anti-Semitic terror attacks on Jewish institutions and were instructed on how to administer emergency first aid to victims of terror attacks while awaiting the arrival of emergency services.
The rabbis also trained in basic self-defense moves, taught to them by security personnel.
Rabbi Menachem Margolin, general director of the EJA, who initiated the conference, stated: “Unfortunately, the vast majority of European Jewish institutions are not provided with sufficient security by their governments. This is why we have decided to provide rabbis and Jewish community leaders across the continent with basic knowledge and tools in order for them to be able to provide initial first aid and self-defense during a terror attack.”
Quoting a renowned teaching from Ethics of the Fathers, a famous rabbinic work, he concluded: “If I am not for myself, who is for me?”
The decision to add the training to the itinerary of the annual conference came in the immediate aftermath of this month’s terror attack on the Great Synagogue of Copenhagen, in which one Jew was murdered. The synagogue came under police protection only after an earlier attack elsewhere in the city on that same day.
Speaking after the Danish attacks, Rabbi Margolin emphasized that “unfortunately, the Danish government, like other governments across the continent, has not yet implemented the need to secure all Jewish institutions 24/7. It is only because of the earlier shooting that took place in the Copenhagen cafe that police sent several officers to the synagogue, and they were able to return fire and chase the shooter. But the fact is that prior to the earlier incident, there were no police in the synagogue, and the unarmed security guard could not have prevented the terrorist from entering the synagogue and causing even more deaths.”
By Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel
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