The Jews have always been a lightning rod for the world’s ills, perceived or otherwise. The more that anti-Semitic acts increase, the more that politicians should be concerned about their ability to govern. Terrorism abounds when society weakens.
The latest anti-Semitic terrorist incident in Colleyville, Texas highlights the trend to target synagogues above all other sites by the depraved of the world.
The FBI’s hostage task force should be complimented for its miraculous rescue of four Jewish hostages and the elimination of Malik Faisal Akram after an 11-hour standoff. Special Agent Matthew DeSarno said, “It is very likely this situation would have ended very badly early on in the day had we not had professional, consistent negotiation with the subject.”
Why and how this British citizen entered the United States so easily two weeks ago will be analyzed and reviewed. Hopefully, it will not happen again.
Beth Israel Synagogue Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker recounted that, in the last hour of the crisis, the assailant became “increasingly belligerent and threatening.”
He also said, “I am thankful and filled with appreciation for all the vigils and prayers and love and support to all of the law-enforcement and first responders who cared for us; all the security training that helped save us.”
All’s well that ends well but the majority of the attacks against Jewish targets, primarily synagogues, have not ended so well. The following is a list of terrorist incidents against Jewish sites since the year 2000.
2000-Armed attack against Temple Beth El in Syracuse, N.Y. It was designated a hate crime. The perpetrator claimed “Palestinian“ descent.
2000-Firebombing of Adath Israel of Riverdale by a group of “Palestinian“ Americans.
2002-LAX shooting attack on El Al ticket counter; two killed, four wounded. Assailant: Hesham Mohamed Hadayet.
2002-Temple Beth Israel in Eugene, Oregon by white separatists.
2003-Molotov cocktail thrown through a window at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, California.
2005-failed bomb plot by Muslims against an L.A. synagogue.
2006-Seattle Jewish Federation shooting committed by Naveed Arzal Haq.
2009-U.S. Holocaust Memorial shooting.
2009-Bomb plot to target Riverdale Temple and nearby Riverdale Jewish Center.
2011-Plot to bomb a Manhattan synagogue.
2014-Overland Park Jewish Community Center shooting by a Neo-Nazi.
2016-Ohio restaurant displaying an Israeli flag subjected to a machete attack by an Islamist.
2018-Pittsburgh synagogue shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in which 11 people were killed and six wounded. Assailant: Robert Gregory Bowers.
2018-L.A. synagogue attack. Mohammed Abdi Mohamed tried ramming two Jews leaving the synagogue with his vehicle.
2019-Chabad of Poway, Calif. shooting on the last day of Passover. One killed, three wounded. Assailant: John Timothy Earnest.
2019-Failed bomb plot against the Temple Emanuel Synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado.
2019-Jersey City shooting by David Anderson and Francine Graham at a Kosher supermarket, killing three. A Jersey City detective was murdered by the pair at a cemetery prior to the attack.
2019-A member of a synagogue in North Miami Beach was shot multiple times.
2019-Stabbing of five people on Hanukkah in Monsey at a rabbi’s home used as a synagogue.
2021-Attempted forced entry in a Bal Harbour synagogue by an Arabic-speaking man with a package.
As the list indicates, the main target of terrorists in the past 22 years in America have been Jewish establishments, primarily synagogues.
America has done a fine job of protecting targets like airlines and museums, but Jewish community centers and synagogues are not yet protected adequately. This must once and for all be made a priority.
The lesson of Colleyville is that unless every synagogue in America receives the necessary security, such incidents will continue.
Dr. Joseph Frager is a lifelong activist and physician. He is chairman of Israel advocacy for the Rabbinical Alliance of America, chairman of the executive committee of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim, and executive vice president of the Israel Heritage Foundation.