The Backstory Behind Jewish Target Of Latest Bomb Threat In US


Yet another bomb threat against a Jewish institution in the US.

The Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn was evacuated after receiving an emailed bomb threat.

The museum was evacuated Thursday morning following a call to the police, AM New York reported.

Devorah Halberstam, the museum’s director of foundation and government services, told JTA the evacuation was still ongoing as of 11:15am.

“It’s a trying time for us as a Jewish people especially, and we need to be aware and we need to take heed, and we need to be careful,” Halberstam said.

She added: “I’m referring to all the threats that have been going on both locally and internationally — it’s something that is very frightening. Unfortunately anti-Semitism has been around for the longest time and I guess things don’t change, now it’s done by emails and phone calls. They use technology to hide behind it.”

Jewish institutions, including community centers and Anti-Defamation League offices, have been hit with more than 100 bomb threats so far this year, all of them hoaxes.

While they have all been hoaxes so far, this is still very terrifying for the Jewish community.

But this story actually contains an allusion to a much more serious threat facing the Jewish community and, actually, the world at large.

Devorah Halberstam, the woman quoted in the story, is all too familiar with terror.

Her son Ari was murdered by a Muslim terrorist over 20 years ago.

Ari Halberstam was 16 when he was gunned down in a hail of bullets near the Brooklyn Bridge on March 1, 1994.

He was on his way back from visiting the ailing Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson at the Manhattan Eye and Ear Infirmary in the East Village.

The gunman, Lebanese-born Rashid Baz, opened fire on a van carrying more than a dozen Orthodox Jewish students.

“They shot my son right to the back of his head,” Devorah Halberstam said.

As recalled on the memorial site for Ari Halberstam, the van was beginning to cross the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan when the gunman chasing the van in a Chevrolet Caprice opened fire.

He was armed with a submachine gun, two 9mm guns and a street sweeper shotgun, and he fired in three bursts and sprayed both sides with bullets while shouting “Kill the Jews” in Arabic, before vanishing into traffic on the Brooklyn side of the bridge, the site said.

Police caught up to Baz when he was seen holding a gun to the proprietor’s head an auto repair shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn, demanding that he repair the windows to the car, CBS 2 reporter Chris Borgen reported at the time.

The auto repair shop owner called police, who traced Baz to his home in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. He was ultimately convicted of second-degree murder and four counts of consecutive murder, and sentenced to life in prison.

Years later, the case was reclassified as terrorism. Devorah Halberstam said it was an important point to set straight the historical record.

“It was with intent,” She said. “It was deliberate as is a terrorist attack in order to make a political statement.”

Devorah Halberstam said the attack shed a light on home-grown terrorism, as a precursor to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and a call always to remain vigilant.

In fact, it was Ari’s murder that triggered Devorah to raise $30 million to build this Jewish children’s museum, now the target of the bomb threat.

So yes, these bomb threats are terrifying and need to be treated seriously.

But let’s not forget what the bigger threat is.

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