FBI says no suspect arrested in connection with threat made to San Antonio Jewish community

Temple Beth-El canceled services Saturday due to safety concerns for Jewish synagogues

A security alert was issued for the Jewish community in San Antonio Saturday, leading to both in-person and online Shabbat services at Temple Beth-El being canceled.

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: We previously reported that the ADL said a suspect was apprehended in connection with the threat made to the San Antonio Jewish community. At this time, the FBI has issued a statement, saying no arrests have yet been made.

Sunday update:

The investigation into a threat that was made to the San Antonio Jewish community continues and no arrests have yet been made, according to the FBI.

This comes after the Anti-Defamation League, or ADL, issued a statement late Saturday, claiming someone was apprehended in connection with the threat.

KSAT 12 has reached out to the ADL for clarification on their statement. In the meantime, the FBI also said that there is no imminent threat to the SA Jewish community at this time. You can read their full statement below:

“The FBI continues to work with state and local law enforcement partners to investigate a potential threat targeting an unidentified synagogue in Texas. While no arrests have been made, at this time we assess there is no imminent threat. We would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious or have information about potential threats to report it to law enforcement immediately, call their local FBI field office, or submit a tip to tips.fbi.gov,” the FBI said.

We’ll bring more updates to this story as they become available.

Original:

A security alert was issued for the Jewish community in San Antonio Saturday, leading to both in-person and online Shabbat services at Temple Beth-El being canceled.

As of around 7 p.m., the Anti-Defamation League, or ADL, released a statement claiming a suspect had been apprehended in connection with the threat. However, law enforcement has not yet confirmed the arrest to KSAT.

You can read the latest statement from the ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt below:

“ADL is thankful to federal, state and local law enforcement for taking this threat to Texas Jewish communities seriously and working diligently to identify and apprehend the suspect. We also wish to thank our partners at the San Antonio Jewish Federation and Secure Community Network for their continued collaboration in the face of threats to local Jewish communities. With the immediate threat brought to a resolution, ADL will continue to be in contact with law enforcement, as we have been over the past few days, monitoring the situation. As we have previously said, in this heightened threat environment we urge all communities to maintain vigilance and immediately report any suspicious activity to law enforcement. Once again, we thank the FBI, state and local law enforcement for their proactive work investigating and mitigating these threats.”

The threat was initially announced around 11 a.m. after the Jewish Federation of San Antonio posted a security alert, saying that it received information from the FBI “identifying a potential threat to an unconfirmed Jewish community facility in the San Antonio area.”

Jewish Federation board chair Lauren Stanley and president Nehemia Ichilov released the statement and said security personnel at local synagogues and agencies were notified and on the highest alert.

“At this time we can share that we have received information from the FBI identifying a credible threat to a not yet confirmed Jewish community facility in the San Antonio area. In an abundance of caution, we have taken and continue to take all appropriate steps with our Jewish community partner agencies and synagogues to ensure the safety of the community,” Ichilov said.

Shabbat services were canceled to ensure the safety of all attendees and the Jewish Federation of San Antonio recommended that all formal Jewish gatherings be suspended until further notice.

“We have received information from our experts that the safety situation for the Jewish synagogues in San Antonio today is not optimal for us to conduct our regularly scheduled Shabbat Services,” officials with Temple Beth-El said in a statement on Facebook.

Temple Beth-El Executive Director Cynthia Hogle and President Debbie Roos apologized for the short notice and change to the traditional worship program.

“We appreciate your understanding the abundance of caution we’ve taken to care for our precious community,” they said.

The FBI National Press Office released the following statement:

“The FBI is investigating a potential threat targeting an unidentified synagogue in Texas. We are working to determine the credibility of the threat and sharing information with our law enforcement partners and our partners in the Jewish community. We would like to remind members of the public that if they observe anything suspicious or have information about potential threats to report it to law enforcement immediately, call their local FBI field office, or submit a tip to tips.fbi.gov.”

“It is so imperative that people call out hate discrimination and bias in all forms when they see it,” Mark Toubin, the Southwest Regional Director for the ADL, said.

Anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise in recent years, according to the ADL. They recorded 39 anti-Semitic incidents in 2021, more than double the year before.

“Unfortunately, hate has increased. We’ve seen that through history and we are seeing that again,” Toubin said.

Senior rabbi at Temple Beth-El, Rabbi Mara Nathan, is currently studying at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Despite being thousands of miles away from San Antonio, she issued a statement Sunday afternoon on the incident.

This is a developing story and we’ll bring more updates as they become available.

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About the Authors:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.