Napolitano to Jewish leaders: No imminent threat of attack

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and top U.S. security officials told Jewish community leaders there is no imminent threat of an attack on Jewish targets in the United States.

“Officials on the call said government and security agencies are closely monitoring intelligence information amid rising Mideast tensions, but confirmed that there are no immediate threats directed at a specific target in the U.S. at this time,” said a statement by the Jewish Federations of North America, which co-hosted the call with DHS and the Secure Community Network, the group that partners with JFNA to consult with Jewish communities on security.

Napolitano and top officials of the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the White House spoke for an hour and “stressed that there is currently no indication of any such threat, and urged the Jewish community to continue to engage in normal activity,” the JFNA release said.

A senior Homeland Security official said that Napolitano had been concerned by the level of worry in the Jewish community arising from a number of aborted attempts overseas to target Jewish institutions, as well as recent arson attacks on synagogues in northern New Jersey.

“What she was hoping to achieve was to reduce the level of anxiety,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Noting the “diverse” array of possible threats against Jewish targets, both domestic and foreign, the official said that “none of these may be connected, but when looked at in totality, that is the source of the major concern in the Jewish community.”

Authorities, the official said, were “monitoring intelligence channels and working on a federal level and with state and local law enforcement to follow up on any security issue, foreign or domestic.” Events related to recent heightened tensions between Israel and Iran also were being scrutinized, the official said.

Officials on the call, which drew more than 200 listeners through the JFNA and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, stressed awareness programs, including the joint SCN-DHS “If you see it, say it” publicity program urging awareness of suspicious articles and behavior.

Listeners also were directed to SCN’s recently updated web-based “Homeland Security and Preparedness Training Center.”

Jewish leaders meet with Homeland Security Chief Napolitano

Jewish leaders met with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano about the community’s partnership in a new public awareness campaign.

The Jewish Federations of North America and the Security Community Network (SCN) have joined the Department of Homeland Security in the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign, according to the department.

Napolitano, along with the director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, John Carson, met June 10 with the Jewish leaders.

The launch of the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign partnership with Jewish Federations and SCN, a mechanism for sharing information with faith- and community-based organizations designed to improve overall security awareness in a crisis situation, will feature print and social media materials distributed to the thousands of centers and organizations reached by the organizations.

“The American Jewish community and the places we gather are, unfortunately, often targets for terrorists,” said Jerry Silverman, president and CEO of The Jewish Federations of North America. “This new partnership with the Department of Homeland Security will empower us to counter this threat as we become more actively involved in our own protection.”

Following the meeting, Napolitano said, “Homeland security begins with hometown security, and our nation’s faith-based organizations play a critical role in keeping our communities safe. Expanding the ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign to national Jewish groups, the first faith-based partnership for the campaign, is an important step in the department’s ongoing effort to engage the American public in our nation’s security efforts.”

Napolitano visiting Israel to check security projects

United States Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is in Israel to check on joint security projects between the two countries.

Napolitano visited Israel Monday and Tuesday as part of a multi-country tour that has included stops in Ireland, Afghanistan and Qatar. She will head to Belgium to meet with European Union and World Customs Organization officials, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

“The United States and Israel have a strong and enduring partnership, and the reason for my visit is to make sure that all the things that we’re doing in partnership with Israel—aviation security to cyber-security, to science and technology, research that we are undertaking together focused on security—that all of those activities are being done in a productive and robust fashion,” Napolitano said Monday during a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Also Monday, Napolitano visited the Western Wall and Yad Vashem, where she participated in a wreath-laying ceremony honoring the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. She also met with Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, who is the minister of Intelligence and atomic energy, and Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz to discuss threats from terrorism and the ongoing security partnership between the United States and Israel, according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security.

During the meetings, Napolitano reiterated her commitment to promoting enhanced international aviation security and sharing information and best practices with Israeli aviation authorities in order to counter threats of terrorism, according to the DHS.

Napolitano was scheduled to meet Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visit the Ben Gurion International Airport to meet with airport officials.