Four Jewish schools in north London are closing on Friday over fears for children’s safety amid a rise in antisemitism.

Fears have grown of street protests in support of Palestinians as Gaza comes under bombardment from Israeli air strikes. A former head of Hamas has called for protests across the Muslim world on Friday.

Ateres Beis Yaakov Primary School in Colindale, Torah Vodaas Primary School in Edgware, and Menorah High School in Neasden all told parents on Thursday they would not reopen until Monday.

A fourth school is also reportedly closing on Friday, according to Sky News.

The head teacher of Menorah High School for Girls, a state secondary school with 389 pupils, said the decision was made “in view of the planned protests” on Friday.

The BBC reported that Esther Pearlman told parents: “Please be aware that this difficult decision has been reached because the [sic] of the risk of violence on the streets.

“The police are concerned that as the girls are not in school, they will venture outdoors and have asked us to advise you that it is incumbent on you as parents that your children remain indoors.”

Schools have advised Jewish pupils to disguise their uniforms because of a fear of retaliatory attacks.

One father told Sky News he had been advised by his children’s school to alter their uniform “so they are not signalling in any way they are Jewish”.

He said: “And in 2023 for my kids to go to school and it not be OK for them to wear uniform, a kippah, star of David on their blazers, to have to hide their identity in 2023, it’s very scary.

“I am scared for myself and my family. It’s a scary situation.”

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Their mother said there have been at least three policemen waiting outside her children’s school every day.

Nearly a week after Hamas militants launched an unprecedented attack on Israel, killing more than 1,200 people, Benjamin Netanyahu’s unity government is preparing for a ground invasion of Gaza.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak has announced £3m in extra funding to protect schools, synagogues and other Jewish community buildings in the UK in response to Hamas’s attacks in Israel.

The money will be given to the Community Security Trust (CST) after the group, which acts on the behalf of British Jews on matters of policing and racism, said it had recorded a 400 per cent spike in antisemitic incidents in the UK since the weekend’s assault.

They included six assaults, 14 direct threats and 66 cases of abusive behaviour.

The letter to parents at Ateres Beis Yaakov, a small primary school, referred to the call for protests across the Muslim world on Friday.

The letter said the decision was made “in the interest of the safety of our precious children”.

Rabbi Chaim Pinter, the principal of Yesodey Hatorah, said certain measures had been put place, including extra patrols, and therapists and counsellors for children.

Pupils who normally travel in on public transport were now taking taxis, he said.

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