Gov. Youngkin issues executive directive to combat antisemitism

Blacksburg – With the war overseas, the anti-defamation league is recognizing ripple effects from the conflict spreading.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, since the Hamas attack on Israel, there have been a total of 312 antisemitic incidents reported in the United States. The local Jewish community talked about how they hoped the order would keep making a difference.

“Although there have been important demonstrations of support for Israel. We are unfortunately seeing too many events, groups and individuals are justifying, excusing and even celebrating Hamas actions. We are seeing multiple threats and attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets both here in the U.S. and around the globe.”

Anti-Defamation League

Governor Youngkin is hoping to combat antisemitism with the order.

“Hatred, intolerance, and antisemitism have no place in Virginia,” Gov. Youngkin said in a statement, in part. “As Governor, the safety and security of all Virginians is my paramount concern. Virginia is the birthplace of the freedom of religion in America, and protecting the community centers and houses of worship of the Jewish people is paramount. But this commitment extends to all religions, including those of the Muslim faith, who are increasingly concerned about backlash.”

10 News spoke with local residents who said that he hopes law enforcement agencies have a plan in place for organizations across the Commonwealth.

“I would hope that there’s better coordination among the police at the respective congregation that would be useful. We here in Blacksburg haven’t heard any threats but Jewish communities in the Tidewater have and it’s important that there’s a response,” Eric Hallerman, President of Blacksburg Jewish Community Center said.

Hallerman said that even though they haven’t had any direct threats, they’re still taking preventative measures.

“We used to have our doors wide open on Sabbath morning to let anyone in. We put in steel doors that are closed all the time. We put in an escape route - we have cameras and lights now that we never used to have. We are much more security conscious than we used to be,” Hallerman said.

The Blacksburg Jewish Community Center said their hearts also go out to the Palestinian community.

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Kelly Marsh joined the team in July 2023.

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