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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Synagogues in city on alert after Bhatkal’s disclosure

Mugdha Variyar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 25, 2013
First Published: 01:19 IST(25/9/2013) | Last Updated: 01:20 IST(25/9/2013)

Following the news of a threat to the local Jewish community from a terrorist organisation, a prominent body that represents the Jewish community in the city has sent out advisories to all synagogues and members to be on alert, especially because the community is currently in the midst of a festive season.

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The threat to the community comes in the light of arrested Indian Mujahideen leader Yasin Bhatkal revealing to interrogators that the organisation had plans of targeting the Jews and Israelis in the country.

“The Council of Indian Jewry sent out advisories through emails and phone-calls to eight synagogues located in Mumbai and Thane asking community members to be extra careful and report any presence of suspicious objects or persons to the police,” said Ezra Moses, secretary of the council and head of a Thane synagogue.

“Since our festival season of Succoth is on, most Jews in the city are visiting synagogues and hence the alert was necessary,” added Moses.

The eight-day-festival of Succoth will end on Wednesday. Following this, the community will celebrate the two-day-festival of Simchat Torah, which will mark the culmination of the High Holy Days for the Jews.

The consul general of Israel in Mumbai, Jonathan Miller, said, “We are checking (on the threat) but we are very satisfied with the security given by Indian authorities and authorities in Mumbai.”

“During the High Holy Days, we always request for security, and this year as well, we have had good cooperation from the authorities,” added Miller.

Moses said that synagogues in the city had police protection after the 26/11 terrorist attacks when the Chabad House, a prominent centre of Jewish culture in the city, located at Nariman Point, was attacked in 2008.

“We are keeping our eyes open and are more alert,” said Rabbi Israel Kozlovsky, who presently heads Chabad House.


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