- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 11, 2002

NEW YORK A rabbi on the lookout for terrorists announced he will deploy a gun-toting posse to prowl the streets of Brooklyn, but the New York Police Department says to forget it.

"I simply will not tolerate anyone going on patrol with weapons. We'll arrest them, and arrest them very quickly," Police Commissioner Michael Kelly warned. "This is just common sense. Let the police do their job."

Rabbi Yakove Lloyd, founder and president of the Orthodox Jewish Defense Group, said he decided to deploy the pseudo-vigilante patrol of more than 50 young people, some carrying guns and bats, to start patrolling Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn starting Sunday.

After hearing Mr. Kelly's warning, the rabbi said that although the police commissioner's attitude was "understandable," he was sticking to his guns. "We're going to still be there. It has to be done," he said but opened the door to a compromise. "When he sees we're not a bunch of thugs or hotheads, maybe we can come to some kind of agreement."

Mr. Lloyd decided to deploy the posse after watching an interview on "60 Minutes" with Abdul Rahman Yasin, who is wanted by the United States for his part in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In the interview, conducted in an Iraqi prison, the fugitive said Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn had been the terrorists' original target. Six persons were killed, and 1,000 were wounded in that attack.

"It was the end of the interview that concerned me greatly," Mr. Lloyd said. "He said they will still target 'Jews, Americans and other targets.' To me that means going back to the original plan of murdering Jews in Brooklyn."

The daily patrols will operate from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. in the Borough Park and Flatbush areas. About a dozen members will be armed with 12- and 20-gauge shotguns and rifles, the rest with handguns. All have permits for the firearms, which will be carried in their cases or bags, the rabbi said, adding that some members are probation and corrections officers. New York law prohibits carrying an exposed shotgun.

Patrollers will also carry walkie-talkies and cell phones. "The first thing we will do is call the NYPD and let them know we're here," Mr. Lloyd said. "And if we see anything out of the ordinary, we'll call the police."

A segment of an answering-machine message for the group says: "The time has come, and the Jewish Defense Organization is helping to arm Jews legally as part of Operation Well Armed. Training is legal and free. 'Every Jewish man put a shotgun in your home' is the new slogan of the group."

Many Jewish leaders in the city condemned the patrol idea. The controversy often sounded like a turf battle. Orthodox Jewish Assemblyman Dov Hikind of Brooklyn branded the rabbi's idea "outrageous." He said there was already a 200-man patrol in Williamsburg, a neighborhood Mr. Lloyd said does not welcome him. "All he has done is stir the pot and create greater anxiety on part of people already on edge," Mr. Hikind said. "He's not coming to Borough Park unless he wants a kosher pizza, and I'll even treat."

The Mr. Lloyd's group was founded in Queens in 1985 to combat anti-Semitism. According to its Web site, the group follows the principles of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League, who was shot dead in a Manhattan hotel in 1990.

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