‘We must re-double our efforts’: Local synagogues heighten security after attacks

SEATTLE — In the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks that have killed more than a thousand people, a vigil was held Tuesday night at a local temple in Seattle to show support for Israel.

“In light of the tragedies that have befallen our people, the people of Israel specifically, we felt that this was a necessary expression,” Rabbi Daniel Weiner told the hundreds who gathered at the temple. “Let us be clear and unambiguous the atrocities committed by the malicious murderers of Hamas are an outrage and abomination,” Weiner said.

It was a somber and peaceful gathering, but Weiner said because of what’s happening in Israel, there are real safety concerns for Jewish people here in America.

“The past has been a tough teacher for this, that when hostilities flare up in the Middle East, oftentimes people see Israel as a reflection of world Jews and will lash out against and attack and attack Jews and local organizations,” he said.

The temple that everyone gathered on Tuesday night has been targeted before. Back in April, it was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti.

“American Jews and Jews here in Seattle are going to be exceedingly concerned that they will be vulnerable to attacks as seeming representatives of the state of Israel,” Weiner said.

As part of efforts to keep everyone safe, not only were there security guards, but also a large presence of Seattle Police.

“We must re-double our efforts here to safeguard the synagogues, our communities but most importantly to stay vigilant against anti-Semitic activities here in our state and our nation,” Senator Maria Cantwell said to those gathered.

Seattle Police told us that it has instructed all precincts to increase patrols at synagogues and mosques and said in part in a statement, “To ensure the safety of the Jewish community, we are actively collaborating with various Jewish organizations to address any potential concerns.”

We reached out to several law enforcement agencies around Western Washington to see if they would also be increasing patrols and are waiting to hear back. However, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said they are not increasing patrols.