Guards funded for synagogues and schools after spike in antisemitic incidents since Hamas attack

As military assistance heads for the eastern Mediterranean in support of Israel, the Prime Minister has announced his plans to address a spike in hate crimes in the UK, Harry Horton reports

Antisemitic attacks in the UK have spiked four-fold since Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel last weekend, as Downing Street responds with funding for guards in Jewish schools and synagogues.

The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity which acts on behalf of British Jews on matters of policing and racism, recorded 89 "anti-Jewish hate" incidents between October seven to 10.

It marks a significant rise year-on-year with 21 incidents reported across the same time frame in 2022.

Thousands of Israelis and Palestinians have been killed after tensions ratcheted over the weekend when Hamas launched a fatal attack on Israel.

The CST has seen cases of assault, vandalism, direct threats and cases of abusive behaviour following the resurgence of the conflict, but warns it expects the crime rates to rise as it continues.

In response, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced £3 million to be given to the group to protect Jewish people and buildings.

Number 10 said it will enable the CST to place additional guards at schools it supports and allow for additional security staff outside synagogues on Friday nights and Saturday mornings when Jews are marking the sabbath.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited a synagogue on Monday to join in with prayers for victims of the Hamas attack Credit: PA

Mr Sunak urged that the United Kingdom "must and will continue to stand in solidarity with Israel," following what he described as "the third deadliest terror attack in the world since 1970."

“At moments like this, when the Jewish people are under attack in their homeland, Jewish people everywhere can feel less safe," he added.

“That is why we must do everything in our power to protect Jewish people everywhere in our country. If anything is standing in the way of keeping the Jewish community safe, we will fix it.

“You have our complete backing.”

It brings the total funding for Jewish community protection security for 2023-24 to £18 million.

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Mr Sunak convened representatives from UK policing and the Jewish community with ministers at Downing Street on Thursday for discussions on policing protests.

The roundtable, chaired by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, comes ahead of expected protests and marches taking place across the UK this weekend.

Specific guidance is to be provided to police on the beat on where and when to intervene.

It comes after Mrs Braverman wrote to police chiefs this week saying that waving a Palestinian flag and chanting pro-Arab songs could amount to a public order offence if it could be deemed to be in support of terror atrocities.

Meanwhile, in a move of support for Israel, Mr Sunak has deployed UK military assets to the eastern Mediterranean.

Maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft will begin flying in the region from Friday to track threats to regional stability, including monitoring activity such as the “transfer of weapons to terrorist groups”.

A Royal Navy task group will be moved to the eastern Mediterranean next week as a contingency measure to support humanitarian efforts.