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Lawmakers Urge Increased Security Funding For Jewish Institutions

(JTA) — A bipartisan letter by House members is calling for increased funding for a program that funds security for Jewish sites.

The letter, spearheaded by Reps. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., and Dan Donovan, R-N.Y., and signed by 112 lawmakers, calls for more than doubling funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program, to $50 million a year from $20 million. It cites intelligence assessments finding the threat of “homegrown violent extremists, who draw inspiration from ISIL or other Sunni extremist organizations,” as well as bomb threats and anti-Semitic acts committed against Jewish community centers, schools, museums and synagogues.

A budget plan by President Donald Trump proposed rolling the funds for the program into broader federal emergency preparedness funds. The vast majority of funds have helped upgrade security at Jewish institutions.

The Orthodox Union lauded the letter.

Nearly 150 JCCs and other Jewish institutions received bomb threats and three Jewish cemeteries were vandalized this year. Nearly two weeks ago, an Israeli-American teen was arrested on suspicion of calling in more than 100 bomb threats.

Last month, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., slammed Trump’s budget proposal.

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