Fears rise among Jewish community as two Orthodox schools vandalised in Stamford Hill

Paint vandalism at Vishnitz Girls School. Pic: Rabbi Levi Schapiro

By Louisa Riley and Jordana Seal

Two Orthodox schools in Stamford Hill were vandalised in what was described a ‘violent’ anti-semetic attack over the weekend increasing the level of fear among the Jewish community in the area and across London.

The exteriors of Vishnitz Girls School and nearby Beis Chinuch Lebonos Girls School were doused in red paint resembling blood, an act that Rabbi Levi Schapiro, head of the Stamford Hill branch of the Jewish Community Council condemned as “very violent” and “devastating”.

The two schools are both Orthodox Jewish independent schools educating girls from ages 2 up to 16.

Following the attack the Metropolitan Police issued a statement saying they were ‘supporting London’s communities affected by the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.’

Rabbi Schapiro, who said he spoke on behalf of the community told Eastlondlines that “the entire school, little children, are traumatised” and “when children go home from school, they shouldn’t be afraid.”

Hackney Council later removed the paint. Both schools have been approached for comment.

The vandalization follows the large demonstrations in London over the weekend supporting Palestine and criticising Israel. See Eastlondonlines report here

This attack comes after a new policing plan in partnership with Shomrim, a Jewish community patrol team, was introduced in Stamford Hill last week, following an expected rise in antisemitism in the area which has one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities in the country, in the wake of the Hamas attacks on Israel and its response.

Paint damage at Beis Chinuch Lebonos Girls School. Pic Rabbi Levi Schapiro

The plan involves extra police patrols, more visible patrol cars and trained officers stationed in the area. There will also be an increase in night patrols.

Vandalised windows at Vishnitz Girls School. Pic Rabbi Levi Schapiro

Rabbi Gluck OBE, leader of Shomrim, Stamford Hill, told Eastlondonlines: “There have been extra patrols and we’ve liaised with how best to utilise resources. The police have limited resources and we’ve discussed how to set up a policing plan that is suitable, proportionate and will provide the required cover.”

Hackney Council said in a statement last week that the police presence in the area was being “supported by an increased presence of the Council’s community safety officers.”

Rabbi Gluck added that Hackney council have a “strong understanding and a strong empathy with us in dealing with the current situation.”

The Jewish body, the Community Security Trust said that ‘In the six days inclusive between the Hamas terror attack on Israel (on Saturday 7 October) and the end of the day yesterday (Thursday 12 October), CST recorded at least 190 antisemitic incidents across the UK.’

The Metropolitan Police said on Friday that between September 29 and October 12 there have been 105 report of anti-semetic incidents and 75 anti-semetic offences, compared with 14 anti-semetic incidents and 12 anti-semetic offences during the same time last year.

CST have told people to be vigilant and report any suspected antisemitic attacks to their National Emergency Number, 08000323263.

A number of Jewish schools in north London closed temporariy last week because of fears for the safety of children.

Please visit cst.org.uk/join-us to volunteer for community patrols.

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