Homeland Security

Letter to the Editor

Published June 22, 2012.
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The Forward’s June 5 story, “Jews Face Special Risks, Napolitano Says,” is commendable for its clear assessment of the Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program.

The purpose of NSGP is to support nonprofit organizations that are at increased risk of terrorist threats and to integrate nonprofit preparedness activities with broader state and local preparedness efforts.

A decade ago the FBI issued a nationwide warning that terrorists could use fuel tanker trucks to attack synagogues or Jewish schools, as had happened in Morocco. They said to be vigilant because the threat was credible, although there was no information about when or where an attack might occur. The Jewish Federations of North America, with key communal partners, heeded this call in establishing NSGP and the Secure Community Network.

The state of Jewish communal risk is no less significant today, as Napolitano remarked to the Forward’s editorial staff. She pointed to foreign entities, homegrown extremists and domestic hate groups. She further debunked any misapprehension that the program is wasteful or unfairly favorable to Jewish institutions. Many in Congress from both sides of the aisle also see the value, and we are working with them to preserve the NSGP program for the future.

We commend the Forward and Napolitano for addressing the merits of the NSGP program and holding it up to the light. This new clarity will enhance Jewish communal security at a time of particularly elevated risks to our institutions.

William Daroff
Vice President, The Jewish Federations of North America
Washington, D.C.

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