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Jewish children told to hide uniforms as UK schools strengthen security

Jewish children have been warned to remove their school blazers amid fears of a rise in antisemitic attacks in the UK following Hamas’s attack on Israel.

JFS, a school in Kenton, north-west London issued a notice to parents that all after-school detentions are cancelled and pupils will be allowed to remove their jackets – emblazoned with the school crest – to ensure pupils are safe.

Josh Howie, a Jewish comedian and father-of-five, informed his children that they should disguise their Jewish identity on the way to and from school.

He told i: “Security has had to be doubled at my kids’ schools. I said to my older children, you better take your blazer off, with Hebrew writing on, because they go to a Jewish school and it may attract problems.

“It’s a really hard thing to explain to my small children that people hate them just because of who they are.”

On Tuesday night, immigration minister Robert Jenrick told a rally outside Downing Street that those who celebrate Hamas’s attack will be “hunted down, arrested and prosecuted”.

Mr Jenrick echoed guidance from the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, who has written to all police chiefs urging them to “step up patrols and use all available powers” to prevent anti-Jewish disorder.

The Metropolitan Police said it has stepped up patrols around Jewish neighbourhoods.

CST – the Community Safety Trust – a charity advising Jewish organisations on security in Britain, warned that it is “seeing incidents of racist antisemitism against Jewish people”.

A spokesman said: “This disgraceful and cowardly abuse strips bare the deep hatred and extremism that is faced by both Jews and Israelis.”

Residents of Golders Green in north London, which has a large Jewish population, woke on Monday morning to find a kosher restaurant had had its glass entrance smashed.

Police say they are not currently treating it as a hate crime. However, a bridge adjacent to the restaurant had “free Palestine” graffiti-ed across it on the same night.

A member of staff at the venue said he was “very worried about what is going on,” but declined to speak on record for fear of further attacks.

Aaron Cohen-Gold, deputy director of Elnet UK, which supports diplomacy between Israel and Britain, said he and his pregnant wife had “double and triple-locked” any entrance to their house, fearing attacks.

“To Jews this brings home such atrocious feelings and memories. When you consider that Saturday was the bloodiest single day for Jews since the liberation of Auschwitz, it makes everyone, including myself, my pregnant wife, feel extremely insecure.

“It is extremely distressing to see this.”

Speaking through tears, Mr Cohen-Gold added: “We had a discussion this morning about whether or not I should go to the solidarity march because I feel so at risk.

“It’s a really difficult time for the community. I cannot imagine that there is a single member of the Jewish community who does not have a friend or relative in Israel affected by this to one degree or another.”

David Mitchell, a rabbi, said he had been inundated with worried calls from his congregation over concerns for family members in Israel and their safety in Britain.

“People are anxious because they think this is the beginning of the conflict. There’s a real sense of vigilance and vulnerability.

“But I live next to a Jewish school, and I can still hear the children playing, so there is also a resilience, too, because life goes on.”

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