Homeland Security to provide support to Jewish community after threats, vandalism

Jewish community centers have received threats and faced acts of vandalism.

ByABC News
March 1, 2017, 9:22 PM

— -- The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it will be assisting law enforcement efforts to support Jewish community centers in the aftermath of threats and instances of vandalism committed against them in recent weeks.

The announcement, in a press release from DHS Secretary John Kelly, notes that the department "is working closely with Jewish communities to advise and support on protective measures they can put in place to help keep people in their community safe."

"In light of the nature of the threats to Jewish Community Centers, I have directed DHS to heighten our outreach and support to enhance public safety," reads the statement from Kelly which notes that DHS officials met with the executive directors of the Jewish Community Center Association of North America.

After facing criticism for a perceived delay in his response to the threats, President Donald Trump addressed the acts at the top of his speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday.

"Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries… remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms," said Trump.

DHS noted that they have held "active shooter workshops" with community centers across the country and will continue to do so, in addition to holding exercises "to enhance contingency planning and response."

"The right to worship and commune within and across faiths is fundamental to the American experience and our way of life." writes Kelly. "DHS will continue to support communities across the country to preserve these fundamental freedoms."