Five-year-old 'taught to hide in toilet' at Jewish school incase of attack after antisemitism rise

  • Granada Reports Correspondent Mel Barham has been speaking to members of the community about how they're dealing with the hostility

A mother says her five-year-old son is being "taught how to hide in the toilets" at his Jewish school incase there is an antisemitic attack.

Lucy Salem said her son's school have also stocked up on lollies to give to children incase they need to keep the pupils quiet if there is a serious threat.

It comes after hundreds of antisemitic incidents have been recorded in the North West by a Jewish charity.

There have been a record number of anti-semitic incidents in the North West after Hamas attacks on 7 October. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

The Community Security Trust says more than 500 incidents took place last year in Greater Manchester, which has the UK's largest Jewish community outside London.

Lucy Salem said that life as a Jewish person in Greater Manchester is "terrifying".

"I don't think there's a day that goes by that I don't wake up feeling anxious. I walk down the street and i'm questioning what people are thinking and whether they know i'm Jewish."

But Lucy said she is more scared for her son who attends a Jewish school that is now heavily guarded by security.

"There is a strong police presence outside every single day and it just breaks my heart. I feel like i'm putting him in harms way," she said.

"He doesn't understand, thankfully, but he did ask me the other day why the police were there, I didn't know what to say.

"It's just a really sad state of affairs and I feel like we're being targeted for something that we are not in control of."

Since Hamas attacks on Israel, there have been 550 anti-semitic incidents in Greater Manchester. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

She continued: "I look at my little boy and I think 'what kind of a world have I brought you into?' It's not safe.

"At the age of five has been taught how to hide in the toilets at school. The fact that they're being taught that makes me feel sick."

The Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Jewish abuse, says there was a sharp rise in incidents of hate in the aftermath of the Hamas attacks on 7 October and Israel's subsequent response in Gaza.

It recorded more than 550 incidents in 2023 in Greater Manchester, which has the UK's largest Jewish community outside London.

Mark Levy, Chief Executive of the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester, said: "What we're seeing is Jewish people going about their daily business in every walk of life are being targeted.

"Whether that's children going to and from school, people at uni , people in a theatre, we've had jewish buildings being defaced with awful graffiti so people are naturally feeling insecure."

He continued: "The anxiety that will be created by the report, which does not shock anyone in our community, will be unprecedented because we have always had to endure a surge in hate crime targeting Jewish people when there is a conflict in the Middle East."

"But a sheer number of incidents which have taken place since October 7 is shocking and has to be utterly condemned."

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