In 2014, the Jewish Daily Forward reported that the Department of Homeland Security allocated to Jewish institutions $12 million, or 94 percent, of $13 million in funds for securing nonprofits. The $13 million disbursed last week brings to $151 million the amount disbursed since the program started in 2005, most of it to Jewish institutions.
Jews receive 94% of grants despite the fact that in the last 50 years, over a hundred black churches have been firebombed. Not one US synagogue has been burned down.
“In response, in 1995, President Bill Clinton also set up a church-arson investigative task force, and in 1996, Congress passed a law increasing the sentences for arsonists who target religious organizations, particularly for reasons of race or ethnicity. Between 1995 and 1999, Clinton’s task force reported that it opened 827 investigations into burnings and bombings at houses of worship; it was later disbanded.”
In 2015, nine African Americans (including the senior pastor, state senator Clementa C. Pinckney) were murdered by Dylann Roof, left, during a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Three victims survived. This church is one of the oldest black churches in the United States, and it has long been a center for organizing related to civil rights.
There have been two shootings at US synagogues, Poway and Pittsburg. The Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation[a] in the Squirrel Hill neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The congregation was attacked during Shabbat morning services. The shooter killed eleven people and wounded six. It was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States.
As political tensions increase, it’s inevitable that churches and synagogues will become targets of fanatics. The question is, should these institutions pay for their own security? And if the government does, shouldn’t it be more equitable?