Gov. Walker says his administration will aid the Jewish Community Center in Whitefish Bay to make sure that it remains a safe place. The center has been the target of three bomb threats since the start of the year, including one this week. Similar threats have been made against other Jewish organizations nationwide.
Gov. Walker visited the JCC on Wednesday and announced his intentions. He called the center a world class facility, with its expansive fitness center and education programs for young children. He condemned the threats against it.
“It’s a form of domestic terrorism when people try to make threats whether they follow through with them or not, calculated systematic threats are a threat to all of us,” he said.
Walker then unveiled a couple measures designed to quell peoples’ fears. He said the state will add law enforcement and investigators to review threats.
“We’re going to make sure there’s intelligence so that we’re not just rushing out to do something and that we’re making an intelligent choice about what needs to be done. So that’s where at the state level, the Department of Justice can help the Division of Criminal Investigation in that regard. We’ll look at the potential of whether or not there are additional bodies physically in that regard, we’ll look at the details of that,” Walker said.
Walker also said the state will provide financial resources, and that he will announce the details in coming days.
One person grateful for state assistance is the center’s president Mark Shapiro. He implored members not to let the threats keep them away from the JCC.
“We are just blessed to be able to serve the community and to meet them where they are. So many people find the JCC as value to them and unique in so many different ways, whether it’s what we do at 29th and Center with our food pantry, to just the families you can see standing around here right now using our facility as a place to build community and to gather, we’re going to stand strong for a long time,” Shapiro said.
Both Shapiro and Gov. Walker declined to speculate on who is behind the threats.