Growing extremist threats require critical funding for securing American Jewish communities, Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told a Jewish group in Washington on Wednesday, the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) reports.
Anti-Jewish threats and attacks are on the rise and far outnumber threats to other religious minorities. According to FBI statistics revealed last year, 57 percent of reported anti-religious hate crimes were directed at Jews. Previous FBI reports also show that Jews are disproportionately targeted in religiously-motivated crimes.
As a result, the vast majority of funds earmarked by Congress to protect non-profit institutions, $20 million for 2016, is allocated for Jewish establishments.
"The need is most acute in the Jewish community because of the ascension of anti-Semitism and hate crimes we see," Mayorkas told an Orthodox Union leadership group.
The terror threat Jewish institutions face is real and the community must prepare for potential threats, he said, adding it is among the concerns that "keep me up at night."
Mayorkas suggested that Jewish institutions hire well trained security, train the community to respond to an active shooter situation, enhance partnerships with local law enforcement, and improve cyber security. Mayorkas said hackers may seek to acquire information to target Jewish children.
He reiterated that the FBI was monitoring over 1,000 suspected extremists throughout the U.S., in each of the 50 states. As radical Islamism remains a potent threat, Jewish communities in particular will likely continue to be primary targets for anti-religious attacks and harassment.