Skip to Content

FBI on alert for threats to the Jewish community ahead of Passover, director says

By Josh Campbell, CNN

(CNN) — Federal law enforcement is on alert for any potential threats to the US Jewish community ahead of the start of the Passover holiday, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a group of nationwide security officials Wednesday.

“We at the bureau remain particularly concerned that lone actors could target large gatherings, high profile events, or symbolic or religious locations for violence – particularly a concern, of course, as we look to the start of Passover on Monday evening,” Wray said.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Secure Community Network, a Jewish community nonprofit safety and training organization, Wray said threats to the US Jewish community had already been elevated before Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack on Israel, but the number of FBI hate crime cases tripled in the wake of the incident.

“Between October 7 and January 30 of this year, we opened over three times more anti-Jewish hate crime investigations than in the four months before October 7,” said Wray, who noted raw statistics about investigations represent “very real threats to your institutions, to your houses of worship, to your schools and university organizations, and to the individuals in your communities simply for being who you are.”

An Anti-Defamation League audit released Tuesday showed there was a dramatic upward trend of incidents after the start of the Israel-Hamas war. Between October 7 and December 31, there were 5,204 incidents, CNN reported earlier this week.

The Jewish civil rights advocacy group tracked 8,873 antisemitic incidents in the United States in 2023 – the highest number of incidents reported since the organization began tracking data in 1979.

Wray said his remarks were not intended to stir alarm, but he noted “it is a time for continued vigilance” – comments echoed by other security professionals.

“Unprecedented threats do not need to equate to unnecessary fear or panic,” said SCN national director and CEO Michael Masters, who added that the public can “rest assured that those focused on the safety and security of the community are maintaining a laser-like focus on this so Jewish life can exist and thrive.”

In addition to homegrown violence and a surge in hoax threats against Jewish facilities, Wray warned that the FBI was also observing a range of threats from abroad.

“We’ve seen – since October 7 – a rogues’ gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against the United States and our allies,” said Wray, including calls by global terrorist groups “to target Jewish communities both in the United States and Europe.”

In addressing Jewish community security officials, Wray also called out state-sponsored threats.

“After the last few days, in particular, the threat posed by Iran itself is very real,” he said.

Wray added that after Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel last week in retaliation for a suspected Israeli strike on an Iranian diplomatic complex in Syria, “we are urging all of our partners here and around the world to stay vigilant” against any “potential threats that may emerge from Iran or its proxies both overseas and even here in the homeland.”

This story has been updated with additional reaction.

CNN’s Jack Forrest and Nicole Chavez contributed to this report.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

CNN Newsource


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content