Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett held a press conference Friday to reaffirm the county’s solidarity with the Jewish community in light of recent bomb threats.
“This hate has to stop,” Leggett said as he stood before a gathering of Maryland state and county senators, representatives, council members, police, Jewish leaders and rabbis and members of other faith communities in the county.
During the conference, Leggett announced that he was sending the County Council a supplemental appropriations recommendation to the Fiscal Year 2017 Capital Budget of $225,000 to fund security improvements at the Bender Jewish Community Center, Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, Inc.
“The Jewish community has already borne heavy costs to protect their facilities, and it is important that the county demonstrate its support with these contributions,” Leggett wrote in a memorandum to Council President Roger Berliner on Monday.
To date there have been 120 threats nationwide including two at the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville where the conference was held, according to Ronald Haber, executive director of the Jewish Community Resource Council of Greater Washington. There was also a bomb threat called in to the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School upper school in Rockville on Monday, Feb. 27.
The purpose of the bomb threats is to sow fear and anxiety in Jewish communities, Halber said, but we will continue to practice our Jewish faith without reservation.
Rabbi Mitchel Malkus, headmaster of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, said that when the bomb threat came into his school it brought not only disruption to the school day, but “that someone wanted to blow up their school,” was an emotional shock to the students
Assistant Police Chief Daryl Deprenda reminded the gathering that the police need the community to help combat the threats.
“If you see something, say something,” he said. “Every tip matters, every tip will be followed up. We will together overcome this hate.”