Fence to be raised at London Jewish school amid security fears

Two men working at a primary school in North London said they had been called in on Friday.

George Lithgow
Friday 13 October 2023 16:43 BST
Ateres Beis Yaakov primary school in Hendon, London (George Lithgow/PA)
Ateres Beis Yaakov primary school in Hendon, London (George Lithgow/PA) (PA Wire)

A Jewish school in north London is planning to increase the height of its fence amid security fears in the area.

Contractors working at Ateres Beis Yaakov primary school in Hendon, which was closed on Friday, said they had been asked to “raise the fence” to make it harder for people to “reach over”.

The contractors, who did not wished to be named, were measuring the fence ahead of planned works.

A small number of schools in north London were closed due to safety fears.

Gates were locked at Menorah High School and Torah Vodaas Primary School in Barnet on Friday, with no staff or pupils seen on site.

A private security guard working outside a school in Hendon said a security presence was “normal” for many schools in the area, but believed people had become more anxious since the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan confirmed the Government is working closely with a “small number” of Jewish schools, which have temporarily shut due to safety fears, to ensure they can open again.

The Metropolitan Police said London has seen a “massive increase” in antisemitic incidents since the Israel-Hamas conflict, from the playing of German military music to intimidation outside synagogues.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the “disgusting rise” in antisemitism in the days after Hamas’s attack on Israel.

No 10 announced that £3 million in extra funding will be given to provide the Jewish community with additional protection, with strengthened security at schools and synagogues.

Asked about schools in London closing due to safety concerns on Friday, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Well there’s obviously broader threats, not specific, including some of the absolutely disgusting material we have seen from Hamas who are a terrorist organisation who threaten people all the time.”

He added: “So this is really to do with the security of the community, and the Jewish community itself taking decisions. The Government has stepped in with further money in order to work with the community.

“People are very concerned, and it’s not surprising when you hear the language coming out of some of these organisations and their supporters.”

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