November 7, 2023
Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden (CD&V) is sending extra police patrols to the Jewish neighborhood in Antwerp and Brussels. The decision comes after a new analysis by the OCAD, which analyzes the threat.
For years, the Jewish community in our country has been at a highest threat level of 3. The OCAD has not increased that threat level, but in a new analysis it does point out the increasing tensions caused by the current situation in the Middle East.
Following this new advice from the OCAD, Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden (CD&V) decides to send additional federal police officers to Jewish institutions and the Jewish community in Antwerp and Brussels. Local police zones are asked to include these shifts in their patrol schedule.
In recent weeks, Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA) has repeatedly called for extra police and the army to be deployed to guard the Jewish neighborhood. The Jewish community in Antwerp is very visible, because the Jews live in a specific neighborhood and many dress traditionally.
Verlinden had already called on local police zones to increase vigilance at Jewish schools and worship services following advice from the National Security Council. There was no additional federal police support.
Verlinden did give the local Antwerp police an exemption from the order to send police officers to other zones if they ask for help. The Antwerp police could then use the released capacity for patrols in the Jewish district. According to Verlinden’s cabinet, the additional supervision by the federal police is a further implementation of the ‘increased vigilance’ that it previously called for.