London – The Shomrim (“guardians”), a volunteer-based Jewish organization, has been keeping London’s Jewish neighborhoods safe in cooperation with the Scotland Yard for years. Now, with the riots in the British capital, their work has become doubly important.
This week they have already managed to thwart looting attempts in one of the Jewish neighborhoods, in an operation befitting of a Hollywood blockbuster action movie.
“We decided to go out and show a presence in the streets,” chief executive of Shomrim North-West London Gary Ost told Ynet. “We realized that people start riots when there is no police presence on the scene, and then it is hard to control them, so we wanted to stop it in the Jewish neighborhoods before it gets started.”
Ost says since the riots erupted, however, the phone has not stopped ringing.
The Shomrim decided to expand their operation, work around the clock on two 30-men shifts that patrol the Jewish neighborhoods in north-west London including Golders Green and Finchley. “We sat down with the police chiefs on Saturday night and on Wednesday and exchanged information,” Ost added.
Since the start of the riots, the Shomrim callers have expanded to include concerned citizens outside of the Jewish community.