Federal Bureau of Investigation looks for source of 'robocall' bomb threats to Jewish centers


The Woodbridge Jewish Community Center is in a temporary location after sustaining damage in a fire.

A swastika graffiti and the word "bomb" were discovered on the bathroom wall of a Staten Island Jewish Community Center, the Anti-Defamation League said Wednesday.

A few community centers were evacuated, but no explosives were found, according to Richard Sandler, chair of the Jewish Federations of North America. However, the temporary center still has security cameras and regularly runs disaster drills.

"The police have completed a thorough sweep of the JCC and have deemed the threat not credible and the building safe", the center said.

"Bomb threats to Jewish communities are nothing new", Goldenberg said in a phone interview. As of 4:30 p.m. January 9, most of the JCCs resumed regular operations, according to a statement by the JCC Association of North America.

Bomb threats also targeted Jewish community centers and schools in central Florida and Tampa last week, but Sandler said there's no apparent link between those threats and the calls received Monday.

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It was possible that the US incidents "may have originated from the same phone number", said Oren Segal, director of the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism, which he said was working with the community centers and law enforcement. Buildings were evacuated while authorities investigated similar threats in Atlanta, Georgia; Tenafly, New Jersey; Columbia, South Carolina; and Wilmington, Delaware.

Dov Ben-Shimon, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, said the threats were "another wake-up call" for the community. All the facilities were searched and given the all clear by authorities.

"Our highest priority is always the safety of our members, participants and employees", Sorkin said.

"Unfortunately, such threats are not new to the Jewish community".

The backdrop to the threats is a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the USA during the past year, which experts have connected to anti-Semitic supporters of President-elect Donald Trump who have been emboldened with his rise to power. And in the weeks following President-elect Donald Trump's victory, anti-Semitic graffiti and vandalism was reported in several American schools and colleges.