By Paul Goodman
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I haven't been inside a Jewish school as an adult – my visits as a Shadow Spokesman on Integration and Cohesion didn't take me to one before the last election – though I certainly have as a child: I have a swimming memory of staring uncomprehendingly at Hebrew script at a liberal synagogue in north London.
So I haven't seen the daunting security measures taken by Jewish schools in Britain. Anyone asking whether these are really necessary has an answer this morning from France: a school teacher, a 16 year old boy, a seven year old girl and an unidentified child have been shot dead in a Jewish school in Toulouse. The gunman made off on a black scooter.
Would the Guardian mind giving a little less space in future to attacks on Michael Gove in relation to decisions he's made which seek to ensure that Jewish schools are better protected in Britain? I have consistently warned that an attack on a synagogue or a mosque or – given events abroad – a church is far from impossible in Britain. The same applies to schools.
Indeed, there was an attack on a mosque on the continent last week: an Imam was killed in Brussels. He died during what turned out to be a sectarian attack on Shia Muslims by a Salafi extremist. The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board put out a statement condemning the attack as "outrageous".
What does it say about modern, liberal, tolerant Britain that new Jewish schools are now designed with counter-terror in mind – with special cameras, gates, perimeter fences and security guards? I pause for a moment to think of the Imam who choked to death in a Belgian mosque last week, and of four innocents lying dead in a school in France.