University security stepped up after threats to rabbi

Security has been stepped up at the University of Leeds after its Jewish chaplain was threatened and "Free Palestine" graffiti was daubed on a building for Jewish students.

Rabbi Zecharia Deutsch, from the University Jewish Chaplaincy, had "received threats to his safety and that of his family", the university said.

The threats to Rabbi Deutsch and the graffiti on Hillel House were both reported to the police on the morning of 9 February.

Campus security staff and West Yorkshire Police patrols in the area had both since been increased, according to the university.

Leeds University leaders said they were "actively supporting" West Yorkshire Police and the Union of Jewish Students as investigations into the incidents continued.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the university said: "We totally condemn the anti-Semitic abuse and threats directed towards the chaplain and his family.

"Such attacks on any individual are unacceptable and will not be tolerated from members of the public or our university community.

"The university has detailed measures in place to safeguard our students and is further stepping up activity relating to both security and wellbeing."

The statement added that foot and vehicle patrols in the area had been increased.

It also said that the university had strengthened its partnership with the Community Security Trust, a group that helps to protect the Jewish community, to "ensure our community feels safe".

"The University of Leeds is determined to protect members of our Jewish community and all those who play such a valuable role in supporting them," the statement said.

Earlier, police had appealed to the public for information after the graffiti at Hillel House came to light last week.

The Union of Jewish Students said previously that it was "heartbroken and angry" at the vandalism.

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