Homeland Insecurity

The scramble for the post-9/11 pot of federal allocations aimed at strengthening homeland security has not always been an edifying spectacle. As is inevitably the case where millions of taxpayer dollars are distributed, the results can be as much the result of patronage and politics as with real need.

But the recent allocation of Homeland Security grants for security at Jewish communal institutions highlighted a real problem. As one official of a national Jewish group devoted to provided security alerts to institutions around the country noted in a Jewish Telegraphic Agency report this week, "Anywhere Jews gather is a potential target."

American Jews have achieved unprecedented levels of acceptance and security in this country, and no one should interpret these grants as an excuse for panic about the prospect of crossing the threshold of a Jewish institution.

But given the terrorist threat that 9/11 brought home to all Americans, coupled with a growing revival of anti-Semitism and vilification of Israel around the world, taking this issue seriously is not a sign of alarmism or paranoia. Measures to ensure the safety of synagogues, JCCs and other communal institutions are, in this age of deepening homeland insecurity, simply common sense.



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