For the first time ever, an armed guard will be stationed outside each synagogue in Jerusalem, as part of preparations for the upcoming High Holy Days and amid concerns over the recent rise in terrorist attacks.
Israeli media reports tally 19 attacks in Jerusalem since the beginning of the year, with 31 other incidents successfully thwarted. Just before the holidays, police announced on Wednesday that they have completed preparations in the capital for the upcoming major events.
Thousands of police officers will be deployed at crowded locations and holy sites. According to Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Turgeman, for the first time, armed personnel will be stationed at predetermined locations in every synagogue in the city, following thorough briefings.
Israeli synagogues lack armed security guards
Unlike Jewish houses of prayer in Europe or in the United States, Israeli synagogues don’t usually have armed security guards on a day-to-day basis, making the decision significant.
Checkpoints and crowd control measures will be put in place as well, to manage the expected crowds at the Western Wall plaza, taking into account the crowd size and maximum capacity. Additionally, security will be provided for pilgrims visiting holy sites during slihot, or penitential prayers, as well as on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.