Twitter Poll: Should Jewish Centers Have Armed Guards On Duty?

Tree of life   or l simcha synagogue facade
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons / People pay their respects at a memorial to the victims of a mass shooting in front of the Tree of Life - Or L'Simcha Congregation in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on November 4, 2018.

On 25 June 2019, the WJC conducted a poll to gauge followers’ opinions around armed guards at Jewish centers.

In the wake of attacks in Pittsburgh, San Diego, and around the world, community protection is a hotly debated issue. We wanted to know what our followers’ thoughts were on the practice.

We asked: “Should Jewish centers have armed guards on duty? If so, whose responsibility should it be to provide them?”

Only 14% of respondents replied that they were not in favor of armed guards. That leaves a total of 86% who were in favor of armed guards at Jewish centers, with a fairly even division between the government providing them, the communities themselves, or both (33%, 25%, and 29% respectively).

In Europe, multiple countries have been supporting initiatives for guards already, with governments providing financial support to their communities to facilitate protection, as well as increased police presence. In the US, meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has been providing grants to private schools and nonprofits, and multiple organizations provides both armed guards themselves as well as trainings to community members to beef up security.

With increased antisemitic incidents and sadly a sharp increase in terrorist acts against Jews worldwide, this debate is far from over, and the need for increased security is high.