Syria Debate Makes For Safety Anxiety As High Holidays Approach
FIVE TOWNS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Jewish High Holidays were approaching this week with the debate on a strike on Syria in high gear, and some communities have been left worried.
As 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported, in the Five Towns, religious leaders such as Asher Matathias of the Long Island B’nai Brith said they are anxious that the debate is coinciding with the High Holidays.
“We live 10 minutes away from Kennedy Airport, so whoever will fly in may fly to the most densely populated Jewish community in our particular area, which is the Five Towns,” Matathias said.
In response, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano emphasized that such worries are only hypothetical right now.
“There has been no specific terrorist threat or any other hate crime threat made in Nassau County,” he said.
Still, Mangano said the county will step up police patrols during the High Holidays.
“The County will intensify police patrols around temples and synagogues during the upcoming Jewish High Holy Holidays,” he said in a statement. “All religious leaders should know that the Nassau County Police Department will take any and all threats to public safety seriously as nothing is more important than the safety of our residents.”
Other local governments also have been maintaining extra vigilance.
As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported last weekend, the Morris County, N.J. Office of Emergency Management has been keeping a watchful eye on the crisis in Syria. Director Jeff Paul said the tensions escalate at a time of the Jewish High Holidays, and the upcoming anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Last week, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly also said there is currently no intelligence to indicate there could be a problem in New York City if the U.S. launches an attack on Syria. But the city remains prepared.
“Let me say that we’re always looking over the horizon. We are aware of conditions throughout the world, we have a large police force and we’re always looking at contingencies, things that may happen,” Kelly said this past Tuesday. “I can only tell you that we will respond, in our judgment, accordingly if something happens overseas. We’ve always been concerned about what happens throughout the world – it’s become much smaller after 9/11. That’s why we have our own officers stationed overseas, so they have their ear to the ground.”
As is always the case, there will be a heightened police presence at Jewish houses of worship over the high holidays and the heavily armed Hercules teams will be ready if needed, Kelly said.
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