Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

New York Pols Request Security Funding

Jacob Kornbluh

Jewish Caucus Seeks $25 Million to Combat Anti-Jewish Crimes

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

 Mishpacha image

FIGHTING BACK Council members like Mark Levine (left) say heightened awareness about anti-Semitism will help combat it (Photos: F. William Alatriste for the New York City Council)

J ewish members of the New York City Council are requesting $25 million in additional funding to protect houses of worship and other institutions amid a spate of anti-Jewish hate crimes.

Since the beginning of the year, attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions have risen 210% in New York City, according to the New York Police Department. In New York City generally, hate crimes are up 123%.

To combat this trend, the City Council Jewish Caucus, led by Councilman Mark Levine, has requested a multimillion dollar supplemental that will bolster an existing $20 million program that provided protection to houses of worship and schools. The new allotment would go toward community centers like JCCs that have been threatened nationwide.

According to Levine, while anti-Semitic incidents were already the single largest category of hate crimes before the recent spike, the growing number of anti-Semitic attacks is “simply unacceptable, particularly because it’s targeting not just individual New Yorkers, but institutions.”

If Mayor Bill de Blasio approves the budget request, Levine said he would like to see the funding applied to installing security cameras, upgrading alarm systems, and hiring more security guards, whose average hourly wage of $40 is out of reach for many institutions.

“There are many schools that have now resorted to hiring off-duty police officers on Shabbos,” said Levine, a Democrat whose district includes the Upper West Side and Washington Heights. “This is an appropriate role for government to step in to protect its people and its institutions, in the face of a very tangible threat.”

While Levine says there is no denying that this spike in anti-Semitic threats is concurrent with the ascendancy of the Trump campaign, he dismissed the notion that the mainstream media’s focus on anti-Semitism is leading to disproportionate reports of such incidents.

“The heightened awareness is a good thing,” he explained. “For many years in the Jewish community there has been a debate: ‘Do we want to give attention to these attacks? Maybe that only motivates copycats.’ But the times of that debate is over. This is happening at unacceptable levels. This is no longer in the shadows, and so we have to confront it.”

Last October, the city council passed a bill sponsored by Levine to require the New York Police Department to include a category for hate crimes in its reporting on neighborhood crime statistics.

The Jewish Caucus also prioritizes speaking out more forcefully in support of Israel and advocates deeper ties between New York City and Israel.

“That has been a more challenging fight than you might expect,” Levine told Mishpacha, in an interview outside City Hall. “I’m in an interesting position as a progressive, because I actually believe that support of Israel is a profoundly progressive position to take. I believe it’s critically important that Israel be a bipartisan issue, that it not be only one end of the ideological spectrum that supports Israel.” 


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 653)  Jacob Kornbluh is the political writer for

Related Stories

Mobileye Catches Intel’s Eye to the Tune of $15 Billion

Tzippy Yarom

How Will Israeli Citizens Benefit from the Windfall?

In Europe, Right-Wing Populism Grows

Jean-Yves Camus, Paris

Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party (PVV) Trumps Anticipated Defeat

On Site: Painted into a Corner

Yaakov Lederman

David Avisar spent five years secluded in an artist colony where he worked in a round-the-clock crea...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"