WASHINGTON (Aug. 2)
In the wake of recent bomb threats to the Israeli Embassy here and the Israeli Consulate in New York, FBI Director Louis Freeh has reassured Jewish leaders that his agency, in concert with local law enforcement officials, is doing everything possible to prevent terrorist assaults on American soil.
The bomb threats to the Israeli institutions followed a spate of terrorist attacks last month against Jewish targets in Argentina, London, and, possibly, Panama.
Jewish organizations throughout the country have stepped up security measures with the help of law enforcement officials.
In Washington, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has placed concrete barriers in front of the building, shielding it from the street. At the B’nai B’rith headquarters, escorts are required for visitors.
Freeh “sought to assure our delegation of the seriousness with which the FBI is confronting potential threats to the Jewish community,” said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee. AJCommittee coordinated the meeting with Freeh and a host of Jewish organizations here on Monday.
In addition to AJCommittee, the meeting included representatives from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith, Council of Jewish Federations, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, National Council of Jewish Women and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
A separate session with representatives of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations was scheduled for Wednesday.
Speaking for many in the community, Michael Lieberman, associate director and counsel of the Washington office of the Anti-Defamation League, said: “It’s reassuring to the Jewish community that the FBI is in a heightened state of concern.”
At Monday’s meeting, Freeh briefed the delegation on the bureau’s ongoing investigation of the London, Argentina and Panama bombings, which left over 100 dead and close to 300 wounded. He left no doubt that Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Islamic fundamentalist organization, is responsible for the recent wave of terrorism, according to many who attended the meeting.