By Nathan Diament
The first responsibility of a government is to keep its citizens safe from harm. In the world in which we live, there are dastardly people persistently plotting to harm Jews and attack Jewish institutions. We’ve seen this abroad in Toulouse, Burgas and elsewhere.
Here in the United States, President Obama and his Administration – led by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano – has proactively and persistently worked with the Jewish community in real and material ways to keep us, in our shuls, schools, JCCs and everywhere else, safe.
It goes far beyond meetings, such as the one we had with the Secretary last week. It includes aggressive support for our institutions receiving millions of federal dollars to improve our institutions’ security.
It includes ongoing intelligence sharing and planning with the OU and our umbrella partner – the Secure Community Network.
And today, it included a multi-hour “table top exercise” in which I participated along with a score of other Jewish leaders and a score of DHS, FBI and other federal officials – including Secretary Napolitano herself. Here is DHS’ readout of the event.
This event will unquestionably spur even more action and cooperation and support between federal officials and our communities.
We are in a very political season with intense debates. Some issues must not be caught in that fray and appropriate appreciation must be paid on the merits.
The fundamental matter of the safety and security of the American Jewish community is such an issue. This level of commitment is serious and only comes when the leadership at the top makes it happen. For this, we must be appreciative toward President Obama and Secretary Napolitano and their national security teams.