Expert Says Jewish Institutions Are Vulnerable to Attacks

The recent upsurge of attacks against Jewish Institutions in Europe is partly the result of their relative vulnerability as compared with the more secure Israeli-related targets such as official embassies and missions, according to the head of the State Department’s anti-terrorist division.

In private discussions here with the World Jewish Congress-American Section and leaders of two dozen national Jewish organizations, Lt. Col. Frank Perez, director of the State Department Office for Combatting Terrorism, dealt with current and future trends relating to international terrorism and its particular impact on Jewish communities here and abroad.

Elaborating on the increasingly violent attacks against Jewish targets in Europe, Perez noted: “One of the reasons that we may be seeing these attacks against Jewish groups is because the official Israeli establishments, such as the embassies, are so ‘hardened’ while ‘softer’ targets are the Jewish groups. This is very unfortunate but this is what happens. When terrorists can’t get to the ‘hard’ targets they go for the ‘softer’ targets.” He, however, approvingly cited increased security measures around Jewish institutions as an effective deterrent.

ROLE OF THE SOVIET UNION

It was his view that the Soviet Union does not mastermind an international terrorist network per so, but the aid and comfort they are giving violent groups around the world, including the PLO, places a major responsibility on them for global terrorist acts.

The Soviet Union, he added, while having little problems of terrorism within its own country, faces security problems with respect to its personnel stationed abroad. In Syria, for instance, the “Moslem Brotherhood” had been very active in targeting Soviet officials and institution.

Perez underscored that the policy adopted by the American government to combat international terrorism is firm: “We will not pay ransom, nor release prisoners and we will not bargain for the release of hostages …. We encourage other governments to take a similarly strong stance on terrorism.”

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