Jewish Security Funds In State Budget Leave Others Feeling Excluded

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — For the first time ever, Florida’s state budget includes money for security at Jewish schools. But some organizations are feeling left out.

Videos of children rushing out of their classrooms in fear that a bomb will go off and swastikas etched on the side of cars have become routine symbols of hate. And it’s the reality for south Florida’s Jewish community.

David Posnack Jewish Day School in Davie knows it all too well. The school was evacuated multiple times this year because of threats.

“We’ve been ready. Ready for any kind of challenge,” said Jessica Ben Nun. “But, unfortunately, it was a busy couple of months.”

Florida lawmakers have taken action to ensure security at Jewish schools in the state. In the $82.4 billion dollar state budget that passed Monday, the Legislature earmarked roughly $654,000 for video cameras, fences, bullet-proof glass, alarm systems and other equipment at Jewish schools in nine counties including Miami-Dade and Broward.

“I think it’s great that the government is supporting the community and recognizing the unique threat that we were facing at the time,” said Ben Nun. “Helping us strengthen our schools, institutions and synagogues so parents can feel comfortable sending their kids just to learn, and not worry about security.”

But the funds have raised some questions about why the government is helping schools serving just one religion.

“The Sikh community, the Muslim community have also suffered many threats and in some cases crimes as grave as mosques being arsoned,” said Wilfredo Ruiz, from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Ruiz hopes changes are made to the budget before it’s official.

“We are going to work towards that to get a more inclusive bill that includes any center of worship or religious school that has been threatened,” he said.

Funding still has to be approved by Gov. Rick Scott, who has yet to sign off on the budget.

More from Vanessa Borge
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