JCCs in Wilmington, Cherry Hill among dozens threatened

- Two local Jewish Community Centers were evacuated Monday morning after apparent threats.

The Siegel JCC in Wilmington, Delaware was safely evacuated just after 10:30 a.m. due to a reported bomb threat. Police and K9 officers search the building and cleared it later in the morning.

The Katz JCC in Cherry Hill was also evacuated around 10:40 a.m. due to a threat that was made via phone. Cherry Hill Police were on the scene and later deemed the threat unfounded.

"It’s very disheartening. There's no room for hatred and this type of ignorance in Cherry Hill at all," Mayor Chuck Cahn told FOX 29 Monday night.

These threats were among approximately 90 Jewish institutions to receive threatening phone calls and messages nationwide according to the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL has since issued a security advisory to Jewish institutions nationwide.

According to the ADL, these threats were a part of the fifth wave of threats in recent weeks, and impacted institutions in as many as 12 states.

There have been no reports of violence at any of the centers.  

The White House responded to the wave of threats, as well as the vandalism at a Philadelphia Jewish Cemetery that left hundreds of headstones toppled over. Press Secretary Sean Spicer made the following statement Monday: 

"The president continues to be deeply disappointed and concerned about reports of further vandalism at Jewish Cemeteries. The cowardly destruction in Philadelphia this weekend comes on top of similar accounts in Missouri and threats made to Jewish Community Centers around the country. The president continues to condemn these and any other form of hateful anti semitic acts in the strongest terms. From our country's founding, we've been dedicated to protecting our citizens' rights to worship. No one in America should feel afraid to follow the religion on their choosing freely and openly. The president is dedicated to preserving this originating principle of our nation and while we're at it, we don't want to get ahead of the law enforcement but I was asked the other day about the story in Kansas the shooting in Kansas and while the story is evolving, early reports out of Kansas are equally disturbing."

Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli responded to the threat at the Katz JCC with the following statement:

"This morning, our first responders were called to a place where our community thrives, where our children go to learn and people of all ages, ethnicities and religions come together as one. Inspired by hate and stupidity, a suspect tried to destabilize a special place in our county by threatening our core values of diversity and tolerance. This perpetrator is trying to undermine some of the strongest tenants of our society and we will not stand for it.

This threat to the JCC was not just a threat to the Jewish religion, heritage, culture and values, but a threat to our overall community. This incident is appalling in every sense of the word and we will not stand idly by while these types of despicable acts are used to compromise our strong social fabric. Simply put, hate has no home here in Camden County and we will prosecute the suspect who engaged in this act of hate and terror to the fullest extent of the law. This action will have grave consequences and our law enforcement personnel will be diligently working to bring this person to justice.

After seeing the despicable and disgusting acts of vandalism that took place across the river this weekend we must, as a community, act in unity to ensure that these xenophobic, racist, islamophobic, homophobic hate-filled individuals have no home here. There can never be a time and place where a criminal can feel comfortable threatening our children and neighborhoods with hate." 

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