Hundreds of volunteers are undergoing regular security training and briefings to protect the Jewish community in Australia from an act of terrorism.
More than 500 people from the Jewish community across Australia, are now trained, organised and deployed regularly in anti-terrorism surveillance at synagogues and schools.
The Jewish community in Australia says it has in the recent past been regarded as a “category one” target – the highest possible security alert level.
The Australian Jewish community says it’s now at the level below that but still in the same risk category as the United States Consular offices and the Israeli embassy.
The President of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, Stephan Rothman, says major security organisations, like ASIO, have told him that attacks have been planned against Jewish targets in Australia, including schools, synagogues, businesses and welfare centres.
“The fact is that we have been briefed as to the existence of cells before it became public knowledge and the existence of plans against Jewish institutions in Australia before that became public knowledge. My understanding is that at least in relation to some of the cells, that they have not been apprehended. And that makes us feel very insecure and apprehensive. We have felt that way for some period of time We try as best we can to get on with our ordinary lives.”
He says the suspected terrorist sleeper cells have not been apprehended which has forced the community to protect itself with professional security officers and volunteers.
“It is fair to say the community feels abandoned a little. And certainly I don’t have any less faith in the police system. There are no doubt steps that could be taken by government to assist the community in what its doing which are not being taken. I think that the steps that could be taken would be assistance with surveillance or the cost of surveillance and a greater alert within government as distinct from the police force.”