CEO February 2015 Update

Lone Wolves or an International Terrorism Network? 


On Friday July 28, 2006, a man entered the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and opened fire. He killed one member of the staff and injured 5 others. The SCN network – a Jewish Federations of North America sponsored email alert system – told us it was the work of a lone individual reacting to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. Just a lone wolf – only a crackpot.


The world has changed. I can’t count the number of times we have seen bombings (Al-Qaeda), beheadings (ISIS), and children rounded up for massacre (Boko Haram). We also have witnessed the civil war in Syria (the death count is now over 200,000 and there are millions of refugees).


As we entered 2015, the onslaught of terrorism and anti-Semitism continued. Following the tragic attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine, a terrorist took hostages at a kosher supermarket in Paris and killed four people. 


According to the Times of Israel, “The bodies of the four French Jews killed in a jihadist attack on a kosher supermarket in Paris –  Yoav Hattab, Philippe Braham, Yohan Cohen and Francois-Michel Saada –  were laid to rest in Jerusalem at a ceremony marked by grief, resilience and outrage at the dangers posed by Islamic extremism. The ceremony at the Givat Shaul cemetery was attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and other Israeli ministers and officials.” 


JFNA has opened the France Emergency Fund as a vehicle for communities and individuals who are motivated to provide philanthropic support. Funds will be used to address security needs of the French Jewish community, as well as to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims of the terror attacks. If you wish to donate, go to


We are taking steps to reinforce our own security efforts here in Richmond as a result of the world-wide attacks. An inter-agency meeting on security was held this past week. Shortly, recommendations will be made to beef up our efforts and I am confident the Federation will act to meet these challenges. 


Following the Charlie Hebdo magazine attacks, a rally of 3.7 million people marched in Paris against world violence and in memory of those who were slain. Included in the list of world leaders who joined French President Francois Hollande were British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others. 


During a speech at the Great Synagogue in Paris, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Today, I marched through the streets of Paris, in one line with leaders from around the world, in order to say that terror must end. It is time that we fight against terror together.”


The prime minister continued, “We must recognize that there is a global network of radical Islam at work – a network of hatred, fanaticism and murder. I believe that this threat will only grow larger when thousands of terrorists come to Europe from the killing fields of the Middle East. The danger will grow much greater and will become a serious threat to humanity at large if radical Islam gains control over nuclear weapons, and therefore we must use all means to prevent Iran from acquiring an atomic weapon. We must support each other in this fateful struggle against radical Islamic fanatics wherever they are.”


We had better heed the words of the Prime Minister of Israel. We are facing much more than a lone wolf.


Samuel H. Asher is the CEO of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond. You may reach him at or by calling (804) 545-8622


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