Parents Fight for Increased Security in Jerusalem

Jerusalem parents organization announces new security measures after parents barrage mayor and municipality with calls for security guards.

Cynthia Blank ,

Israeli children (illustrative)
Israeli children (illustrative)

Jerusalem's Parent Organization for Education announced Wednesday morning that because of the escalation of violence in the capital as well as a growing fear that children will be harmed, "security in educational institutions across the city will be reinforced significantly." 

"The Jerusalem Municipality is working with us in regard to supplementing security standards, budgets, and manpower," Chairman Paz Cohen stressed. The organization also appealed to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to make the job of security guard at a school a preferred one. 

The organization asked committees of parents from other educational institutions in the city to follow the newly formulated guidelines, including locking gates, and a comprehensive check of parents in schools without security. "The gates will open and the children be let out, only after two scans have been completed," the organization emphasized in their announcement. 

Parents are also expected to volunteer to assist the security officers at the beginning and ending of the school day as much as they are able. 

Parental fear has increased greatly after Tuesday's grisly attack in a Jerusalem synagogue in Har Nof. Five people were viciously murdered and several more wounded. 

"Terrorists can just go in and murder our children," parents complained to the mayor and the municipality via phone hotlines. 

"Since the beginning of the school year, there has been no security guard in our kindergartens. This area has more than 100 children and still no guard," one parent wrote on Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat's Facebook page. 

"Are we, God forbid, waiting for a disaster? The municipality tells us to turn to the police and and the police tells us to turn to the municipality and the Ministry of Education. Who is going to take responsibility for protecting our children?" another parent added. 

The decision to significantly increase security forces patrolling in Jerusalem in general was also made by police Tuesday after a security assessment. According to Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, preparations for every possible scenario must be made - from retaliation attacks to nationalist riots. 

In light of the current security situation and the parents' understandable complaints, the police and the Jerusalem Municipality have joined forces to add security to all kindergartens and other educational institutions in Jerusalem starting Wednesday. Local neighborhoods will also see an increased security presence, with the decision to broaden the Civilian Guard. 

Nir Barkat said of the plan: "We decided on an extensive campaign to recruit volunteers for the Civilian Guard in Jerusalem. I urge residents to volunteer and to strengthen their assistance to our security forces."