update deskSchools & Higher Education

Leeds University’s Jewish chaplain moved off campus following threats

“Such attacks on any individual are unacceptable and will not be tolerated from members of the public or our university community,” the university stated.

The Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building at the University of Leeds in England. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
The Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building at the University of Leeds in England. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Security measures are being ramped up at the University of Leeds in the city of West Yorkshire in northern England following threats directed at a Jewish chaplain. “Free Palestine” graffiti was also painted on a building intended for Jewish students.

Rabbi Zecharia Deutsch, along with his wife and children, have been relocated to a secure location after receiving death threats apparently over his status as a reservist in the Israel Defense Forces.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators accused Deutsch of complicity in “genocide” following his return to Israel in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 people in southern Israel after Hamas infiltrated the Gaza border. The rabbi has faced a barrage of threatening calls, including violence against his family.

In response, more than 500 former students penned an open letter to Hai-Sui Yu, the university’s vice-chancellor, decrying the rise of antisemitism on campus. The letter urges the university to condemn such behavior unequivocally and take decisive action to address it.

In an official statement, a university spokesperson denounced the threats against Deutsch, writing, “Such attacks on any individual are unacceptable and will not be tolerated from members of the public or our university community.”

Reports of the threats and vandalism at Hillel House were promptly relayed to local law enforcement. Campus security, in conjunction with West Yorkshire Police, has bolstered patrols and surveillance efforts in the area.

Before taking these measures, local law enforcement appealed to the public for any relevant information about the anti-Israel graffiti at Hillel House. The Union of Jewish Students said it was “heartbroken and angry” over the attacks.

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