Belgian, Dutch Jewish schools shuttered for security reasons


THE HAGUE, Netherlands (JTA) – Jewish schools in Belgium and Amsterdam were temporarily shuttered following a police raid on suspected terrorists.

In Antwerp and Brussels, major Jewish schools suspended activities on Friday in response to the raising of Belgium’s security alert to Level 3, the online edition of the Joods Actueel monthly reported.

The alert was raised to its second-highest level following the killing of two suspects in a counterterrorism raid Thursday in Verviers, near Belgium’s border with France. The schools were closed as a precautionary measure and are expected to reopen Monday.

Authorities believe the suspects were jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State terrorist group and planned to strike police officers, the news site reported.

“There is no concrete threat to our school following the unsafe situation in Belgium,” leaders of the Cheider Haredi school in Amsterdam wrote to parents Thursday in an email obtained by JTA. But, “because of the uncertain situation that it creates, we found it would be irresponsible to open the school.”

Belgium and the Netherlands, which together with Luxembourg form the Benelux area, have an open border where passport inspections are rare.

Following the closure, the Netherlands-based Christians for Israel launched a fundraising campaign to collect money for security at the Cheider school. Last month, Christians for Israel donated $8,715 to the school for security costs. The organization is now aiming to collect $23,250.

“We cannot accept that in 2015, the Jewish community lives in perpetual anxiety,” the organizers of the campaign wrote.

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