Central New York

Local Jewish Community Reacts to Arrest Made in Israel

By Logan Grossman, NCC News (Syracuse, N.Y.) — Over 150 Jewish Community Centers across the country have been the victims of bomb threats, according to CNN. More than eighty of these centers had pre-schools attached and the children were forced to evacuate.

The story took an unexpected turn when the FBI announced that in a joint effort with Israeli authorities, an arrest had been made. An eighteen-year-old male, who has not been named, was arrested in Israel on March 20th. In a bizarre twist, the teen is Jewish and is a dual-citizen in the United States and Israel.

“It’s crazy to think that a jewish person would do this,” Lyla Birenbaum, a Syracuse University student and former president of Hillel at Syracuse, said. “It really doesn’t make any sense.”

The rise in threats against Jewish community centers and Jewish people has been attributed to many to the 2016 presidential election. Birenbaum disagrees with that notion.

“It is like because we have a new president, now all of the sudden, Anti-Semetic threats are coming back,” Birenbaum said. “I think it is something that was always there, but we are just noticing it more.”

Syracuse University student David Maurer does, in fact, trace this increased attention towards Anti-Semitic acts back to the presidential election.

“This election cycle gave voice to all kinds of people,” Maurer said. “These people have always been there but the election gave them a voice. It legitimized them.”

While Birenbaum and Maurer did not agree on whether or not the 2016 election cycle played a part in the rise of Anti-Semitic acts across the country, they did agree that it is a major problem and that they are glad that Americans are now starting to pay attention to an issue that many people believed to be a thing of the past.