Following a major counter-terrorism raid in the Belgian town of Verviers in which two gunmen were killed and 15 suspects arrested, two of them in France, Jewish schools in Belgium and the Netherlands closed Friday in a precautionary measure. The foiled attack was reportedly “imminent,” and targeted police officers and police stations.
According to Belgian newspaper Joods Actueel, Jewish schools closed after being informed by authorities they might be potential targets. Police guards were dispatched to the Jewish Children Community Cheder, the only Orthodox Jewish school in Amsterdam, which also closed Friday, as seen in the photograph above.
Tensions are high for European Jewish communities as Shabbat approaches. Last Friday’s deadly siege on a kosher supermarket in Paris, in which four Jewish men were killed, has set many Jewish communities on edge. That Jewish schools in Belgium and the Netherlands would be enough of a perceived target to warrant police patrols in the wake of a seemingly unrelated terror threat shows that their fears are, sadly, not unfounded.
Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.