British Jews alert and ready to deal with London 2012 Olympic security concerns

By Marcus Dysch, July 19, 2012
The Israeli Olympic team will stay at the athletes' village

The Israeli Olympic team will stay at the athletes' village

Despite the murders in Bulgaria, the London Olympics poses no specific threat to the Jewish community, although organisations should remain vigilant, experts have advised.

Olympic organisers have prepared contingency plans for dozens of potential domestic and international incidents that could affect foreign dignitaries, London residents and spectators travelling to the capital for the Games —including the consequences if Israel attacks Iran during the next three weeks.

The Community Security Trust has advised Jewish institutions, synagogues and communal centres in London to take sensible precautions and remain vigilant, but stressed there was no direct threat to the community.

“With the number of visitors there is always a risk,” said CST’s Dave Rich. “Communal organisations may get unannounced visitors. People might come to London and want to attend a synagogue service.

“British Jews have to be ready to deal with it and find a balance between being an open, welcoming community and following the security advice.”

An emergency situation room has been created underneath the Foreign Office in Whitehall, and extra protection for dignitaries or emergency departure plans, for those needing to leave Britain quickly, can be provided.

Israeli athletes will stay in the Olympic village with their security arrangements handled by the British organisers and approached in the same way as for all other teams.

However, it has been reported in the Israeli media that members of Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, will accompany the delegation and offer additional support.

Despite the Guardian highlighting a potential Israeli strike on Iran as one of the major concerns for organisers, Foreign Office and London 2012 officials played down the fear, saying it was simply one consideration among “hundreds” of possible scenarios.

Last updated: 11:07am, July 19 2012