Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish centers around the world have been advised to take extra security precautions and be on “high alert” following the targeted killing last week of Iranian IRGC Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani by US forces in Iraq.
An email sent out to Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries on an internal website by the movement’s security commission on January 2 warned their Chabad Houses, or Chabad Centers, may be targeted by Iran or its proxy terror groups for retaliation.
“Soleimani’s death will likely mark a major escalation in a simmering conflict between the US and Iran and there is a strong likelihood that Iran will retaliate whether directly or indirectly.
“Although there is no information at this time to suggest a direct threat to Chabad centers as a result of this escalation, as in past conflicts there exists a concern that the current situation and tensions could contribute to a heightened risk and threat environment for Jewish facilities and Chabad centers . . . [this] may be exacerbated should military action escalate in coming days and weeks,” the email read.
Emissaries were urged “to maintain a heightened awareness when out in public and in and around your Chabad House. Report any suspicious behavior or activity to the nearest law enforcement personnel.”
There are 5,000 Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries, or “shluchim” and their families co-directing Jewish centers in 100 countries and territories around the world. Most of them attended the 2019 annual International Conference of Shluchim held at the movement’s World Headquarters in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn this past November.
Many of the rabbis have faced various security situations before; learning to work together with local and national authorities to keep everyone safe is not new to the world of Chabad emissaries, who frequently are called upon to work with security personnel in helping to locate lost and missing citizens in a crisis or natural disaster.