Anti-Semitic attacks have increased by 500 per cent in two weeks as a London Rabbi said offenders were threatening to “kill Jews” and rape their daughters.
The horrific abuse has come following an escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza. A ceasefire which began on Thursday night was holding into Friday.
“For the first time, I told my children not to go out with their skullcaps on. I never thought I would tell my children to hide their Jewish identity,” the Rabbi, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
“We have not had cars driving through Jewish neighbourhoods shouting ‘kill the Jews’ before. They threatened to rape our daughters.
“We think they came down the M1 and deliberately drove through Jewish neighbourhoods in Golders Green, Finchley and St John’s Wood.
“Personally, it is the worst it has been in 30 years since the 90s.
“This is of huge concern to the Jewish community because they are deliberately going into Jewish neighbourhoods and shouting horrendous anti-Semitic comments. Most people are determined to go about their day but it is going to make people think twice.”
One synagogue in central London has increased safety measures with additional cameras, security doors and guards and a walk home service, to ease concerns.
“The number of antisemitic incidents reported to CST has risen by 500 per cent in the past two weeks which is consistent with previous conflict situations,” chief director Mark Gardner said in a letter to the community.
Last week in London, four people were arrested for racially aggravated public order offences after a video appeared to show anti-Semitic language being shouted from a convoy of cars decorated with Palestinian flags.
Essex Police said the attack on Rabbi Goodwin, who has since been discharged from hospital, was being treated as a hate crime but they did not believe it was linked to tensions in the Middle East.
“He is a pillar within the community as any religious leader would be,” the London rabbi said. “People rely on you and look up to you for guidance which makes this incident all the more alarming.”
He said the abuse could come at any time.
“The problem is you never know where it is going to come from. You could be just sitting on the tube and suffer a tirade of abuse.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged support for Jewish people after the UK’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis deemed the rise in the hate crime as “unprecedented”.
He said: “Whatever the situation is in the Middle East, there is no excuse for the importing of prejudice to the streets of our country, in any form.”
Police have stepped up patrols in north London while officers engaged with Jewish communities in Chigwell following the recent events.