The Metropolitan Police in London has reported a “massive increase” in antisemitic incidents in London in the past week since the war began. The Met’s warning comes as Rishi Sunak committed to increase funding for the protection of Jewish premises after it was reported antisemitic incidents in the UK quadrupled in the past few days. Meanwhile, four Jewish schools announced closures on Friday and Jewish students were advised not to wear school uniform.
“Offences ranging from intimidating people in front of synagogues, people playing German military music in front of Jews, or people laughing and celebrating the deaths in Israel,” the Met said in a statement.
A spokesperson said there is a “significant level of concern” in the Jewish community and people are “genuinely scared”.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor told a press briefing on Friday: “Last year in the period of September 30 to October 13, we saw 14 antisemitic incidents and 12 antisemitic offences, this year in that same period, we’ve seen 105 antisemitic incidents and 75 antisemitic offences.
Speaking in Sweden, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said, “There’s been a, quite frankly, disgusting rise in antisemitic incidents over the past few days.”
Mr Sunak said he had provided extra funding to the Community Security Trust to help protect Jewish institutions and so “police have all the support that they need to ensure that our streets are safe for people from all communities”.
“We will absolutely not tolerate people inciting hatred, or violence, or racist activity, intimidating or threatening behaviour will not be tolerated,” Mr Sunak said. “It will be met with the full force of the law.”
The update by the Met police comes as four Jewish schools closed on Friday “in the interests of the safety of our precious children”.
Torah Vodaas Primary School in Edgware, Ateres Beis Yaakov Primary School in Colindale, and Menorah High School in Neasden, informed parents on Thursday evening they would not reopen until Monday.
In a letter to parents, Rabbi Feldman, of Torah Vodaas, said while there was “no specific threat to our school” it was “not a decision that has been taken lightly”.
It comes as Jewish students were being warned by schools to disguise their uniform over fears of antisemitic attacks.
Thousands of people are expected to attend a pro-Palestinian march in London tomorrow.
The Met has warned any expression of support for Hamas – either a flag or behaviour – will be a criminal offence.
Having a Palestinian flag will not be considered an offence, but people will be arrested if their behaviour incites or supports violence.
This year, we want to do more to bless Israel and the Jewish people.
We know that as we bless Israel this year, God will bless us, just as He promised in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Now is the time to bless Israel and the Jewish people.