Representatives of the World Jewish Congress met Wednesday with Jan Hamáček, Minister of the Interior of the Czech Republic, as a follow-up to methodology provided by the WJC to the government for protecting soft targets in the country.
As part of this work, the WJC compiled guidelines of methodology for coordinating such protection of sites including malls, stadiums, concert halls, and other crowd-drawing locations often targeted by terrorists and other violent offenders. The guidelines include recommendations for actions in the stages immediately following an incident, as well as for returning to routine as quickly as possible with minimum damages. The WJC was able to provide such guidelines due to its experience in contending with the unfortunate rise of violent incidents facing Jewish communities worldwide and the aftermath.
Following the meeting, the ministry noted in a Twitter post the “excellent security cooperation with the Jewish community that has resulted, among other things, in establishing a new methodology for the protection of soft targets”.
"We have measures and methodologies in place to minimize the threat of attack. However, schools, shopping malls, theaters, churches and restaurants need clear instructions on what to do if they are violently attacked," Hamáček said following the meeting, on the purpose of the methodology. "We have above-standard security relations with the Jewish community and we also use the experience of our partners to protect our soft targets.”
Other topics discussed at the meeting included the increase in antisemitic attacks in Europe, which has fortunately spared the Czech Republic as of late. Nevertheless, the Ministry of the Interior has been cooperating closely with the Czech Jewish community in the field of security and assured the WJC representatives that any manifestations of antisemitism were unacceptable for the Czech Republic. As early as January 2019, both chambers of the Czech Parliament adopted a working definition of antisemitism which it hopes will help to further streamline detection of antisemitic crimes.
The minister and the WJC representatives also discussed further cooperation and coordination for 2020 to develop further good practices in Czech Republic that could be used as a role model for other European countries when it comes to combating antisemitism and protecting the Jewish communities, with the goal of country-wide strategies in each EU state by the end of next year.