For the last few years, one of SACC to the EJC’s objectives has been to increase its cooperation with the European institutions to enhance security, support and preparedness for our communities.
The European Council Declaration of 6 December 2018 on the fight against anti-Semitism underlined that the security of Jewish people is an immediate necessity and requires timely action.
Our engagement with the European Commission, in particular at the Working Group for the Protection of Public Spaces, has strengthened our belief in the importance of working together with other communities and finding synergies in the fight against hatred and terror.
Helping other communities with the security challenges that they face is of course in line with Jewish core values and with our mission.
As you all know, the perpetrator of the attack on the synagogue of Halle on October 9, 2019, once he realized he would not succeed killing Jews, attacked a Turkish restaurant, seeking to kill Muslims.
The attacks in the mosques of Christchurch and Bærum, the churches in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray and Nice, and unfortunately many others, have highlighted the urgency and importance of collaborating with other communities of faith in the field of security.
In June of 2020 the Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission (DG-HOME) launched a call for proposals to increase the protection of houses of worship in Europe, as one of the priorities of its Internal Security Fund-Police (ISF-P).
The ISF-P is a dedicated instrument to enhance the capacity of the EU and the member states for managing effectively security-related risk and crises, and preparing for protecting people against terrorist attacks and other security related incidents.
The SACC under the EJC decided to build a dedicated partnership with three well-established organizations from the Christian, Muslim and Buddhist communities:
– Conference of European Churches
– Faith Matters
– European Buddhist Union
The result of this partnership is the project “Safer and Stronger Communities in Europe” (SASCE).
SASCE is a multi-layered approach to dramatically increase security in and around places of worship, within as well as between Christian, Buddhist, Muslim and Jewish communities.
Today we are delighted and honored to inform you the SASCE project has been awarded by the European Commission’s ISF-P fund. For the first time, representatives of the four religious communities will be working together on a common project to enhance security.
The SASCE project, which will be fully funded by the European Commission, is divided into two main components:
1. The four partner organizations will develop content for community leaders, members and employees (basic security tools, security awareness, crisis management). Subsequently, it will create a network of ambassadors on the use of this content, and then disseminate it through trainings, briefings in and around communities, as well as wider communication campaigns across Europe.
The project also aims to build trust and cooperation between civil society and national authorities, facilitating formalized channels of communication between community leadership and public enforcement authorities.
2. SACC under the EJC will equip communal buildings across Europe with 1,000 emergency tablets. This part of the project will be devoted solely to Jewish Communities.
This will increase SACC under EJC’s capacity, through which it will be able to enhance its support to Jewish communities.
We hope that this will be the beginning of a long-term process of inter-faith cooperation on security that will have very positive effects for our communities, in the EU member states and beyond.
We are very pleased to share this exciting news with you. We will provide with more details in further communications.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
president, European Jewish Congress