UPDATES

Toulouse school’s decision to cut security may have implications on Australia

Mar 27, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Toulouse school's decision to cut security may have implications on Australia
news_item/pic59.jpeg

In this post last month, I argued that the Jewish community in Australia does have the unfortunate need for security at Jewish schools, which remain a target for terrorists, a statement that I later affirmed after the Toulouse attacks. This was to rebut statements made by former Australian Jewish News editor Dan Goldberg, reported in The Age in January – well before the attack in Toulouse – suggesting that the money could be better spent elsewhere:

[Former AJN editor Dan] Goldberg suggested the rising costs of security were helping push up education fees so that ever more money would be spent on protecting ever fewer children, as more families were forced to seek cheaper – non-Jewish – alternatives. “We have ramped up our security – walls, fences, CCTV, personnel – and battened down our schools so that some 10,000 kids attend virtual fortresses manned by armed guards.”

Yet, he pointed out, the inconvenient truth was that the Jewish community had not faced a terror attack in Australia for 30 years, since the Hakoah Club and Israeli consulate in Sydney were bombed on the same day.

“Investing in security is an insurance policy … but what’s the use of an insurance policy if in generations to come there’s barely anyone left to insure? If Jewish education is one of the most effective bulwarks against intermarriage and assimilation, then our insurance policy surely must ensure our children have access to affordable Jewish education.”

While the Jewish community in Australia did not heed Goldberg’s advice, a very similar school of thought seems to have been adopted in Toulouse, with tragic consequences. This was evident in an article by Anshel Pfeffer in Haaretz over the weekend:

So could more have been done to protect the school in Toulouse? It’s too early to say, before all the evidence has been collected and collated, but one painful irony is that it was the community members themselves who actually reduced security measures recently. They made the reasonable calculation that doing this would save money that would allow them to make the school fees cheaper to attract more Jewish families, as currently only 30 percent of Jewish kids in Toulouse go to Jewish schools. And that is certainly not irrational, because one could very plausibly argue that increasing the number of children able to access a Jewish education was a more sensible investment than security guards and hi-tech wire fences, especially in a pleasant south-of-France city almost entirely untroubled by anti-Semitic incidents.

The community in Toulouse made a decision to reduce the security around their schools in order to increase access to Jewish education and thereby strengthen their community. While this was a perfectly understandable decision, it would be difficult to argue that it was the correct one in hindsight. We will never know whether or not the attack could have been prevented with more security, but given the extensive surveillance that Merah was reported to have conducted, it remains a distinct possibility. The tragic events of last week, therefore, affirm once again the unfortunate but undeniable need for high levels of security around Jewish communal institutions, even in relatively safe countries like France or Australia and even at a considerable cost.

Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Tags:

RELATED ARTICLES


(Photo: Shutterstock)

The politics of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar

Nov 22, 2022 | Update
Taraneh Alidoosti, one of Iran's most famous actresses, appearing publicly without her headscarf and holding a sign with the Kurdish words for "Women, Life, Freedom". Despite the regime's bloody repression, Alidoosti has vowed to remain in her homeland "at any price" and support the families of those killed or arrested in the protest crackdown  (Photo: Instagram)

Iran’s protest wave continues 

Nov 11, 2022 | Update
8c2ebfa2 C3e1 A33a 9cdc 07bd16e00b2f

After election win, Netanyahu set to be Israeli PM again

Nov 4, 2022 | Update
Israelis are going to the polls yet again on Nov. 1, the fifth Israeli election in less than four years. Will this vote break the political deadlock? (Image: Flickr, IDF)

Israel goes to the polls – again

Oct 28, 2022 | Update
The complex Israel-Lebanon maritime boundary dispute appears to have been settled after many years of negotiations, with Israel accepting the green line in the above diagram, except within five kilometres of the coast (This map was originally published on the MEES website).

Israel-Lebanon maritime border agreement

Oct 13, 2022 | Update
A screenshot from a video posted on Sept. 17 shows an injured protester in Saqqez, Iran, being rushed to a medical facility. (Video: Twitter)

Insights into Iran’s protest movement

Oct 7, 2022 | Update

SIGN UP FOR AIJAC EMAILS

RECENT POSTS

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi (source: Dean_Calma)

UN nuclear watchdog head’s shocking statement on Iran

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The World Cup and Qatar’s Hypocrisy

Image: Twitter

New Government will confront terror wave 

Anti-Zionism is no longer being ignored in New Zealand (Image: Alamy Stock photo)

AIR New Zealand: Disinformation report prompts anti-Zionism debate

Image: Twitter

Biblio File: What lurks beneath

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi (source: Dean_Calma)

UN nuclear watchdog head’s shocking statement on Iran

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The World Cup and Qatar’s Hypocrisy

Image: Twitter

New Government will confront terror wave 

Anti-Zionism is no longer being ignored in New Zealand (Image: Alamy Stock photo)

AIR New Zealand: Disinformation report prompts anti-Zionism debate

Image: Twitter

Biblio File: What lurks beneath

SORT BY TOPICS