A gang of around 20 young men in the Stamford Hill section of London stormed a synagogue in the neighborhood late Saturday night. The gang yelled obscenities and threats, beat worshipers and vandalized property according to IsraelHatzolah’s official Twitter account.
British police told media in a curt statement they were treating the incident as an anti-Semitic incident due to “a remark” made by one of a group of drunken men who tried to break into the synagogue after leaving a nearby party just after 1 am local time. Six were arrested, police confirmed, on charges of assault and disturbing public order.
The police statement hardly describes the siege that was underway before help arrived.
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One member of the Ahavat Torah congregation who witnessed the attack said the mob shouted “We will kill you!” He also said they physically assaulted the worshipers inside the synagogue and tore apart prayer books.
One Jewish man was beaten about the face and had a tooth knocked out after he tried to apprehend one of the attackers on his own and haul him off to police, having spotted the scene while passing by.
Police said they have increased patrols in the area to provide reassurance to the community – but if so, none were around when this attack took place.
A new Campaign Against Anti-Semitism hotline is about to be launched in response to the sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Britain over the past two years. Prime Minister David Cameron was the keynote speaker at the annual dinner for the nation’s Community Security Trust (CST) last week. The organization monitors anti-Semitic activity in the country. In his speech, Cameron announced a series of financial measures totaling more than 11 million British pounds Sterling to support Jewish community security across the country.
“At a time when once again the Jewish communities of Europe feel vulnerable and when anti-Semitism is at record levels here in Britain I will not stand idly by,” Cameron vowed. “I will not turn a blind eye to the threats that the community faces. If the Jewish community does not feel secure then our whole national fabric is diminished… We are going to fight anti-Semitism with everything we have got,” he promised.