Thank you for trusting us to keep the community safe

The head of CST says that the Jewish community has turned its fear into strength


CST has supported the Jewish community at many rallies calling for the release of the hostages (Photo: Gaby Wine)

When this war started, I promised you that CST would do everything we could to keep you and your families safe. I asked for one thing in return, which was that you would also play your part. That is exactly what has happened, showing how “community” and “security” and “trust” enable each other to succeed.

We secure our community, physically and emotionally, so that you and your families can lead the Jewish lives of your choice. Initially, our community was profoundly alarmed by what we witnessed on October 7 and the torrent of antisemitism we experienced in the days after. But now, with every passing month, our community seems increasingly determined to stand tough and be counted. I am extremely proud of the part that CST has played in helping to enable this.

From the start, we explained the security measures that were already in place across our community, built over decades by CST with schools, shuls and other communal organisations: built because CST and our partners understand the long-term reality of terrorism, antisemitism and Middle East wars.

We urged you to keep sending children to school and you found the strength to do so. We also asked you to be smarter in what you shared on social media, and you were, meaning an end to the false rumours and panics that filled the first few weeks.

Since the war began, many hundreds of men and women have joined CST as security volunteers, following rigorous vetting and intensive security training, including self-defense and emergency trauma first aid. CST now has over 2,000 volunteers. This means we can secure more of Jewish life, including unprecedented demonstrations of communal solidarity, such as the tens of thousands who filled Trafalgar Square, calling for the release of hostages, followed by even larger numbers for the March Against Antisemitism in November.

The quantity and pace of CST’s work is much higher than ever before. It has been this way since October and the challenge is to sustain it all. The volunteers are essential, but we have also taken on 20 new staff and our budget has increased by £2m, for everything from more body armour for security, through to intelligent CCTV systems feeding into our 24/7 national control centre.

Antisemitic incidents are at record levels. The worst of it was in the first weeks. It proves that dead and vulnerable Jews are what excite antisemites the most, not what Israel does. At the same time, our political and social position worsens with every month of war. This is because so many sectors of society have become deeply hateful of Israel, with inevitable consequences for anyone suspected of supporting the Jewish state.

The situation demands that CST works more closely than ever with police and government officials at all levels. I share some communal frustrations with policing, but there is excellent work which goes unnoticed. For example, counter-terrorism cases occur almost weekly, including with CST giving information for investigations and arrests. Policing of anti-Israel demonstrations is much improved, with arrests that would never have happened in previous wars.

The government increased the annual community security grant by three million pounds to £18m annually, secured for the next three years. This funding is not for CST, but we do manage it for the Home Office, supporting security guards at schools, synagogues etc.

If the war continues in Gaza, or Lebanon, we know the impact here in Britain. More antisemitism, increased terror threats and a growing sense of isolation, almost as if we are being squeezed out from public spaces.

CST’s job is to understand and combat these challenges. “Community”, “security” and “trust” are the values that drive everything we do. We are in this together, one community, all needing security, and CST will always strive to deserve your trust. We’ll keep supporting you no matter what, and I thank you for being there for us in return.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive