NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – After the Pittsburgh mass shooting, the NYPD and Jewish leaders are grappling with how best to protect synagogues and other institutions in New York City.
Some 70 Jewish leaders met to explore ways to protect houses of worship in New York as police commissioner James O’Neill said he wouldn’t rule out the so-called “European model.”
That system features heavily armed cops stationed outside, making some European synagogues seem more like armed fortresses.
“It’s something we’re taking a look at going forward and we have to make sure that we work with the clergy… we have to make them not only be safe, we have to make them feel safe,” O’Neill said.
With the rise of anti-Semitic incidents, some Jewish leaders reluctantly say armed guards may be the solution.
“It’s very sad that we have to talk about having armed guards violating the spirit of a religious and sacred institutions, but unfortunately reality dictates that,” Malcolm Hoenlein told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer.
Hoenlein is the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations
He quickly brought together Jewish leaders to meet with Naftali Bennett, the Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs, to consider the next steps.
“Certain synagogues, certain locations, it may be necessary to have the armed guards. That’s our experience, but we want to continue life. Not every synagogue can become Fort Knox,” Bennett said.
WEB EXTRA: CBS2’s Marcia Kramer Sits Down With Naftali Bennett To Talk Synagogue Security
Both men said that there has to be a social media crackdown. Hate speech and threatening rants removed and not tolerated.
“They should treat terror as they treat pornography, nudity, other elements… While we’re happy to have these social media platforms, they can’t be allowed to be turned into a vehicle of murder,” the minister added.
Rabbi Joseph Potasnick of the New York Board of Rabbis told CBS2 some of his members are considering having phones and panic buttons in by their side during services to instantly connect to police if there is an incident.