NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — While the war in Israel continues, the Tennessee Jewish community is on high alert.
Hamas has called for Friday to be a “day of rage” which has increased security concerns at Jewish institutions and places of worship.
Yet despite law enforcement saying they have not detected a credible threat, Metro police have increased security and patrols, and members of the Jewish community are on edge.
“You take this horrific violence, add it to the anti-Semitism and anxiety that we were already feeling, and what you have is a powder keg for fear and anxiety within the Jewish community has not felt decades,” said American Jewish Committee regional director Dov Wilker.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a statement, “We are engaging with law enforcement, Jewish community organizations, and all stakeholders to monitor any potential concerns in the state. We are unaware of any specific threats of violence at this time, but, as always, would encourage all Tennesseans to remain vigilant.”
Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell addressed the war in Israel and said he has been closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with other government entities when necessary.
“Any wartime scenario tends to have impacts at local levels all around the world. We see that here with a Jewish population of as many as 11,000 Nashvillians, I’ve spent the week talking to people who are concerned about people being called up to the Israeli Defense Force, to people who have loved ones who are not yet…their whereabouts are not yet confirmed, so we are also working on that,” O’Connell said.
However, Wilker said that while a good sign, the absence of a detected credible threat doesn’t ease all of the Jewish community’s concerns.
“Any random individual can do anything, and that I think is really the fear that we are experiencing,” he said.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville released a letter to community members urging them to carry on their normal routine while also staying on guard.
“We are aware of reports circulating on the internet and social media that Hamas is calling for a day of rage tomorrow, and we have heard of planned rallies throughout the weekend,” wrote federation leaders. “This form of emotional terrorism is meant to deter us from daily routines, activities, and adversely affect emotional stability. Rest assured we are in constant communication with state, local, and federal law enforcement officials .”