Threats Prompt Evacuations at Jewish Centers Across the Golden State

A wave of threats and attacks currently gripping Jewish institutions throughout the United States has left its own frightening impression on California. Threatening phone calls and evacuations have plagued a number of institutions this week, putting California’s Jewish community on edge.

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto was evacuated Monday after receiving a “threatening phone call.” The same day, bomb threats were made to Jewish community centers in San Rafael and San Francisco, prompting an evacuation of Market Street. Jewish centers in Irvine and West Los Angeles had their own scares, leading to the evacuation of 1,000 people.

More than 20 Jewish institutions across the country received similar calls at the start of the week. So far, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has counted 90 bomb threats this year. The person or persons responsible have done a decent job at disguising their voice and covering their tracks. As a result, there have been no arrests to date.

The ADL has seen this kind of thing before but it typically follows a specific world event, such as a skirmish between Israel and its neighbors. The latest rash of phone calls and desecrations at Jewish cemeteries seem to have come out of nowhere.

A number of activists and experts have tied the phenomenon to the election of Donald Trump, but some Jewish leaders say the threats date back to 2015. The president has disavowed the attacks on Jewish sites. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer condemned the acts again on Tuesday, calling them “cowardly.”


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