‘It’s about the hatred of Jews’: Mercer Island Jewish organizations receive suspicious packages

MERCER ISLAND, Wash. — The Jewish community in western Washington is on edge again after two organizations on Mercer Island received suspicious packages in the past three days. According to the CEO of Jewish Family Service, more than 10 Jewish organizations have either received a suspicious package or threatening letter since October 7, in King County alone.

“I would say there is fear. There’s anxiety. There’s confusion,” Rabbi Will Berkovitz said.

Mercer Island Police said it was determined both packages weren’t dangerous, but suspicious as they understand the concern given how many of these instances have happened in recent weeks.

“It is alarming and we take it very seriously,” Lindsey Tusing with Mercer Island Police said.

Rabbi Berkovitz believes these recent threats are about more than the conflict in Gaza.

“It’s clear that it is not about Israel, it’s about hatred of Jews,” Berkovtiz said.

Mercer Island police said because of this and the concern raised by the Jewish community, they plan to have additional patrols around Jewish organizations in the area in light of the recent threats.

“And it is very important to us that we take every measure to make our community feel safe and make sure that they understand how seriously this means to us,” Tusing said.

As the investigation behind those threats continues, Rabbi Berkovitz believes it will take more than just law enforcement to put an end to this type of hatred.

“And it will get worse for not just the Jewish community, it will get worse for all communities,”  Berkovitz said.

Police have not released the names of the Jewish organizations that received the recent threats.