Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, praised law enforcement officials in Ohio for foiling a planned attack on synagogues in the Toledo area.
A 21-year-old Ohio man, Damon M. Joseph, was arrested and charged in federal court over the weekend after spending months planning the attack on synagogues in the Toledo area. The man said he was inspired by the October attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Penn. in which a gunman shot to death 11 people as they prayed during Shabbat.
The FBI, which worked undercover to thwart the attack, said Joseph described “plans to attack where the most people are gathered, inflict mass casualties and make sure no one escaped.” The FBI also said the man wanted to attack two synagogues and specifically to kill a rabbi.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes members of the FBI, Homeland Security and Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Ohio State Highway Patrol and Toledo Police Department, is leading the ongoing investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Ohio’s Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Baeppler and Trial Attorney Josh Champagne with the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section.
Said Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane:
“This attempted attack is another sad reminder that we must always be vigilant against those who seek to do us harm. We are deeply grateful to law enforcement for their thorough and persistent efforts to ensure this heinous act was not carried out and to keep the Jewish community safe.”
Said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin:
“The Orthodox Union expresses our strong appreciation to the FBI and the many branches of law enforcement and people involved in making sure this attack never came to fruition.”
Said Orthodox Union Executive Director for Public Policy Nathan Diament:
“We deplore this evil attempt to harm the Jewish community and all other forms of hatred. We will continue to work to keep people secure in synagogues, churches, other houses of worship and beyond.”