Canada’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs is forming a volunteer network to provide security at Canadian synagogues and Jewish community facilities.
The Community Security Network will be similar to neighborhood watch programs, only on a national scale, CIJA said in its announcement.
“I’m not looking to train commandos,” program coordinator Doron Horowitz told the National Post newspaper in a story published Monday. “It’s a neighborhood watch. We’re not looking for vigilantes.”
Horowitz, the director of national security infrastructure for CIJA and a decorated Israeli army officer, said the effort is intended to complement law enforcement.
“This is the Jewish community taking an active role in [its own] security on a civilian level,” he said.
Toronto is the site of the pilot project. Once the program can field a team of 25 volunteers, it will be rolled out in Jewish communities across the country.
Volunteers, who must be aged 25 to 50, will undergo a series of background checks and psychological screening “to weed out individuals who have a different agenda or idea of what it means to protect the Jewish community,” Horowitz said.
Trainees will learn about counter-surveillance methods, as well how to conduct patrols and recognize signs of suspicious activity, Horowitz told the Canadian Jewish News.
He stressed that the program will be “emphatically, categorically” different from groups like the Shomrim, unarmed civilians who patrol Jewish communal buildings and large events in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Toronto.