A RABBI has said that the town’s Jewish community has been left ‘frightened’ that the conflict in Gaza could be felt on the streets of Reading.

Rabbi Zvi Lewin Solomons of the Jewish Community of Berkshire Synagogue told the Chronicle that the community is “very nervous” and is taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of their families.

“I have no beef with anyone who is Palestinian,” he said. “But it frightens us when people are showing support for Hamas.”

The militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7. More than 1,400 Israelis were killed, and it is believed that 220 more have been taken as hostages.

More than 5,000 Palestinians in Gaza have also been killed by the Israeli military in response to the attack according to Gaza’s health ministry.

He continued: “As the leader of the community I am worried. We should not be importing the Middle Eastern conflict to Britain. I think what Israel has done will make people line up against each other.”

The faith leader said that many people in the community are stepping up security measures. He also explained that many Jewish people have always had to be cautious.

He said since the conflict, regular building checks are taking place, CCTV is being monitored, and people are searching bins for bombs.

Thames Valley Police are also regularly patrolling the area, according to Rabbi Zvi Lewin Solomons - especially on days when the synagogue hosts group prayers.

“I have in the past witnessed people shout from cars ‘murder the Jew’ in Arabic, and we have to take this seriously. Our history tells us that if we don’t take it seriously, we end up dead.”

The Rabbi expressed his concern that people will allow the violence in Gaza to spill over into their lives in Britain. “This concern is exasperated by social media,” he added.

However, the leader said Reading is generally a welcoming place for Jews and that they are a part of the town’s interfaith group.

Rabbi Solomons described how, in the recent weeks of the conflict in Gaza, he had received a letter from a Muslim woman who offered her condolences ‘for the atrocities caused by Hamas’.

He explained: “She wrote ‘you are my neighbours, and your safety is my business’. It was lovely to get a letter from a Muslim, I wish there was more.”

“I pray that we can come together to recognise that we should be peaceful no matter what our opinions are,” he told the Chronicle. “Reading is our home, and it should be safe.”