A man installs metal detectors at an entrance to the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City July 16, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Bullshit detectors at the Temple Mount


Consider the following facts:

Last week, three Israelis — Muslim Arabs — opened fire at policemen in the Old City of Jerusalem, killing two. They then ran into the Temple Mount, where they were also killed.

The Temple Mount was closed for prayer for a day and a half and then reopened.

It was opened for Muslim worshipers on July 16, but restrictions on Jewish visits remain (on July 17, the first Jews were allowed to enter).

Israel acted quickly to assure all its Arab neighbors that the status quo in the Temple Mount is not going to change.

Now a question: Did Israel act reasonably and cautiously amid a deadly terrorist attack in one of the holiest places on earth?

And another question: Is it not reasonable to suggest, after the attack, that security measures at the Temple Mount should be tightened?

Of course it is reasonable. And that is what Israel proposes — or demands — to do. It installed metal detectors at the entrance to the site to prevent visitors and supposed worshippers from smuggling weapons into the place — as Israel suspects some did. Israel also intends to install cameras to monitor the Temple Mount compound.

For some reason, the new equipment “fanned criticism and protests that Israel had unilaterally changed the rules regarding religious worship and tourist visits at the complex.” The logic behind the criticism was simple: “This is a severe violation of the status quo,” said Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, the director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located on the Temple Mount.

Indeed – it is. A change for the better, a change that Muslim authorities should have embraced, unless there is something they want to hide from the cameras or a reason for them to evade the detectors. In other words, ask not why Israel insists on installing new security measures around the compound — ask why the Muslim authorities respond to these measures with such rage.

The answer to this question is also simple. The metal detectors are truly bullshit detectors. They signal that the Temple Mount is not just a holy compound of worship — it is also, and at times even more so, a political tool with which to hammer Israel. Three years ago, as I was writing about Netanyahu’s highly cautious policy in the Temple Mount, I explained that “the Palestinians keep building a campaign of lies around the Temple Mount — by denying any Jewish connection to the site and alleging that Israel seeks to dismantle the mosques on top of the Mount. This campaign has an intellectual component: to present the Jews of Israel as a colonizing force that has no historical, religious or cultural claim to the land. And it has a practical component: utilizing a made-up threat to the Mount to rally the Arab street against Israel.”

So now the metal detectors are the new tool by which to manufacture a made-up threat to the Mount. The ultimate goal of the detectors’ opponents is not to heighten security or prevent bloodshed, it is to delegitimize Israel’s rule of the Old City. Just listen to what the Palestinians say: “Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy head of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction, told Palestinian media that the detectors were ‘illegitimate.’ He said security would only be ensured by preventing the entry of ‘settlers’ and removing ‘Israeli soldiers’ — Border Police officers stationed at the site — from the compound.”

There you have it. The issue is not security. Israel is the one concerned with security — but the other side is not. The other side sees the terror attack at the compound as an opportunity to further its claim against Israeli presence in Jerusalem. If you remove all the “settlers” — that is, all Israelis — and all “soldiers” — that is, Israel’s security forces — from the area, there will be security. Simply put: no Jews, no bloodshed.

This is a tricky situation to handle. Israel does not wish, nor intends to agree, to a proposed abandonment of the site most holy to Jews. Israel cannot let the Palestinians intimidate it by using Temple Mount strife as an impending threat over its head. On the other hand, the Mount could be a real fuse that ignites a great fire. And maybe this fire, focused on the Temple Mount, is exactly what Israel’s enemies hope to see. They want to prove to the world one of two things: that Israel does not control the Temple Mount — or that Israel should control Temple Mount.

In other words, the metal detectors are an opportunity for Israel’s enemies to make the point they are trying to make: If Israel removes the metal detectors after protestations and threats, that’s proof that it does not really control the compound. If Israel does not remove the detectors — and as a result violence ensues and blood is spilled — that’s proof that Israel should not control Temple Mount.

Thus, Israel proceeds with caution. For now.

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he gives a public speech at Krasinski Square in Warsaw, Poland July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

The lesson from Poland: Trump’s sentiments are Israel’s sentiments


Since the early days of the Trump administration, Israeli policy makers have been struggling with a tricky situation: on the one hand, Israel wants to have the closest possible relations with the new administration. This is not unique to Israel and Trump – for Israel, it is always a goal to have close relations with an incoming president. With some administrations it finds success, with others – the Obama administration is a recent example – its success is more limited.

On the other hand, the Trump administration has presented a different kind of challenge for several reasons. First – many of Israel’s most avid supporters, Jews and non-Jews, Democrats and hawkish Republicans, are highly suspicious of the new administration. Trump is president, but is also highly unpopular. Trump is president, but is also highly unpredictable. Trump is president, but becoming identified with Trump could pose a problem for Israel – as it will surely not help it retain its bipartisan status in America (assuming that’s still possible, at least to a certain degree).

The questions concerning Trump’s policy toward Israel are naturally a factor. But for a relatively long time, it was impossible in many ways to understand what the Trump administration’s policy is going to look like. The president was sending mixed signals, about his intent to be the greatest supporter of Israel, but also about his intent to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians – a process that could lead to conflicts and clashes. His visit to Israel was short and successful, but his policy was still unclear – another reason for Israeli caution.

It is reasonable to argue that some of this caution can be now abandoned. That is, because of the important speech made by Trump last week, in Poland. This was one of his best speeches (the bar isn’t especially high). This was also, finally, a speech that clarifies Trump’s ideology concerning world affairs. For Israel, this speech clarifies something that will surely complicate its relations with some groups of Americans, but is nevertheless reassuring: Trump thinks about world affairs in a way similar to that of the current Israeli coalition.

What did Trump say? The Economist defined Trump’s departure from precedent in the following way: “Earlier American administrations defined ‘the West’ with reference to values such as democracy, liberty and respect for human rights. Mr Trump and many of his advisers, including the speech’s authors, Stephen Bannon and Stephen Miller, apparently see it as rooted in ethnicity, culture and religion.”

Let’s see some of the points Trump made.

He spoke positively about devotion to God – that is, about the power that a nation draws from having an active religious sentiment. Trump does not mock people who “cling to their religion,” but rather praises them.

He spoke about the values of the West – values that not all cultures and not all people share. In other words: Trump feels comfortable and confident about defending and speaking for specific, not necessarily universal, values.  “Today we’re in the West, and we have to say there are dire threats to our security and to our way of life. You see what’s happening out there. They are threats. We will confront them. We will win. But they are threats.”

What are these threats? Trump pointed fingers at the sources of the threat: “We are confronted by another oppressive ideology — one that seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe…. We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory and their funding, and their networks, and any form of ideological support that they may have.” Oh, and he is not shy about calling this threat by name: “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Trump is blunt about the measures needed to confront the threats: “While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.”

But the key paragraph was this one – the paragraph in which Trump laid out a vision very much in line with Israel’s basic political instinct: What people of the West want is “individual freedom and sovereignty,” he said. He then added: “We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are.”

Here you have it: “bonds of culture, faith and tradition.” Some of Trump’s critics were quick to blame him of racism, tribalism, xenophobia, chauvinism (some writers liked his speech). Many of Israel’s critics hurl the same accusations as they consider its belief in bonds of “culture, faith and tradition” – Israel’s desire to retain its character as a Jewish State, its rejection of any formulation of a one-state solution, its insistence on demographic policies aimed at having a Jewish majority in the country. This of course does not make Trump’s future policies in the Middle east more predictable. But it does clarify a fact that many of Israel’s critics will gladly use against it: policies aside, Trump’s sentiments are Israel’s sentiments.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. Jan. 10. Photo by Hadas Parush/FLASH90

Israel denies Palestinian Authority has stopped paying terrorists’ families, contradicting Tillerson


The Palestinian Authority has not stopped paying salaries to the families of terrorists jailed in Israel, according to Israeli officials, contradicting U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The officials, including Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, said Wednesday that they have not seen a change in the P.A. policy. A day earlier, Tillerson told senators at a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the policy had changed.

“I have not seen any indication that the Palestinian Authority stopped or intends to stop payments to terrorists and terrorists’ families,” Liberman told Israel Radio.

An unnamed Israeli diplomatic official told Israeli publications, “We are not aware of any change in the Palestinian Authority’s policy, and as far as we know they are still paying funds to terrorists’ families. The Palestinian Authority continues to praise, incite to and encourage terror through financial support.”

Issa Karaka, head of prisoner affairs for the Palestinian Authority, told Haaretz that the payments have been made this month and will be made next month.

“Almost every other household among the Palestinian people is the family of a prisoner or martyr,” he told Haaretz. “Anybody who thinks he can execute a decision like that is badly wrong.”

Tillerson in his remarks before the Senate committee, speaking about the Palestinians, said: “We have been very clear with them that this is simply not acceptable to us. They have changed that policy and their intent is to cease the payments to the families of those who have committed murder or violence against others.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington, D.C., on May 3. Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Tillerson: Palestinian Authority to stop paying terrorists’ families


U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told senators that the Palestinian Authority will stop paying the families of terrorists who have attacked or killed Israelis.

“We have been very clear with them that this is simply not acceptable to us,” Tillerson said on Capitol Hill Tuesday at a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “They have changed that policy and their intent is to cease the payments to the families of those who have committed murder or violence against others.”

Tillerson noted that he and President Donald Trump both spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about the issue during recent meetings in Washington and Bethlehem.

The American Jewish Committee welcomed Tillerson’s remarks.

“If a firm U.S. stance actually leads to the end of this outrageous practice, as Secretary Tillerson said will be the case, AJC would be the first to applaud,” AJC CEO David Harris said in a statement.

According to Times of Israel, an Israeli general told parliament last month that the Palestinian Authority has paid out nearly $1.2 billion to terrorists and their families over the past four years.

What happens to basic decency during terror attacks coverage?


Let’s talk about decency.

 

Last week was the perfect example of the double-standards that dominate the global media – vowing to battle terror, but only when it’s outside Israel.

 

How can a Muslim extremist butchering innocent civilians be framed as a horrific terror attack when happening in Europe, and as a young teen being chased by police when happening in Israel?

 

To answer this question, we might need to go one step backwards, and ask ourselves how can a terror attack can even be called anything but what it actually is?

 

When terror strikes Israel, something strange happens to the global media. A terrorist becomes “a young teen,” his motive turns from hatred and extremism to “frustration from the ‘occupation’,” and he will never be neutralized and captured by heroic police officers, but “chased and killed by Israeli police.” Almost never will you read about the victims of the attack, because when it comes to Israel, the world turns upside down.

 

This severe issue of double standards was almost undetectable until Islamic terrorism started taking over Europe a few years ago. After years of Palestinian terror in Israel going almost unnoticed globally (as there was always a “justification” in the form of the “Israeli occupation and frustration,) we thought the tragedies that struck Europe would be a wake-up call to the world. These horrific attacks of innocent people outside of stadiums, on the street and in public transportation were supposed to be the tragic circumstances that will unite the world.

 

Sadly, it didn’t happen. The world, Israel included, united with Europe, but terror in Israel is still considered “justified.”

 

With every terror attack, we think “This is it. Now the Western World will unite against terror.” But sadly, Israelophobia gets in the way…


I recently stumbled upon a video of a lecture by journalist and public speaker Dennis Prager, at Oxford University. He was sitting in front of a room full of young men and women and asked the following question: “In the 1930’s was there a debate over the following proposition: that Great Britain is a greater threat to peace than Nazi Germany, or if Nazi Germany is a greater threat to peace than Great Britain?” Then, he said: “Nazi Germany was to Britain what Hamas is to Israel. Whether you agree with the Israeli policy or not – it is irrelevant.”

 

This is where international media lacks decency, and shows double standards and hypocrisy. Terror is terror is terror, no matter where. Justifications can always be found, because at the end of the day, news items are nothing but stories with carefully written plots. But just imagine what will happen if CNN or BBC will report an “armed teenager frustrated with Britain’s immigration policies was shot and killed by police after letting out his rage, resulting in 40 civilians killed.”

 

Can’t even imagine? This is what we see, to our deep sorrow, every time terror strikes us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social media has been hijacked by ISIS – Silicon Valley must end terrorists’ online campaigns or governments will


It looks like that ISIS’ shrinking Caliphate may actually end in Iraq and Syria in the not too distant future. Tragically, that welcomed development however soon it occurs, won’t end the all-too-real threat of escalating terrorist attacks. New evidence indicates that the Manchester Concert homicide bomber met with ISIS operatives in Libya another failed state that could be the next terrorism central.

 So why not a coalition of the willing to drain that swamp and be done with it. Without question, as Israel has proven killing large number of terrorists can make a big difference. And the elimination of thousands of well-trained and battle-hardened terrorists- be they ISIS, al Qaeda, al Shabab, etc; remains a key factor in turning the tide in the war against terrorism. Denying the terrorist groups of  territory they control will rob the evil doers of the R&D centers and the cash to upgrade and expand their lethal crusades to bring down the world order.

But to be clear, ISIS, al Qaeda, and al Shabab terrorism will not end in a hail bullets.That’s because there is another battlefield in the global war that the terrorists are winning hands down:  The Internet. With only a few bumps in the road, terrorists, their global support networks, their sophisticated media, propaganda, and recruitment campaigns have taken full advantage of civilization’s most powerful marketing tools to create and control an romanticized Islamist narrative that has gained them a virtual but all-too-real army of supporters on every continent.

Each year, the Simon Wiesenthal Center publishes its Digital Terrorism and Hate Report  detailing the online terrorism tutorials, the tweets celebrating every “martyr” of every outrage, the glossy online magazines urging on the faithful to mow down, stab, shoot and blow up the infidels, crusaders(Christians) and sons of apes and pigs(Jews). We exposed the pressure cooker bomb recipe three months before it was used against innocents at The Boston Marathon. Over the last two years we warned social media companies that terrorists networks were embracing encryption, a tactic that has enabled suspects to go dark before they launched attacks. Some of the companies have refused to change their rules of usage and even refused to cooperate with authorities after atrocities were committed.

Our Digital Terrorism and Hate Report Card shows mixed grades in their commitment to degrade online capabilities of extremists. In the meantime, online recruitment for terrorist cells and lone wolves continued unabated. And sometimes, as in Stockholm, the perpetrators themselves  boast of their killings on social media.

After the House of Commons, Manchester and London Bridge atrocities, in the United Kingdom, beleaguered British Prime Minister Theresa May has thrown down the gauntlet. On the eve of this week’s national elections, she is vowing to regulate online activity.

Internet companies and purveyors of encryption apps have only themselves to blame, as some firms refused to cooperate with authorities even after hundreds of innocent victims were murdered in the US, UK, and France.

As body counts continue to mount, counter arguments against government intervention ring more hollow. There is no freedom of speech or right to privacy for anyone launching, aiding, or abetting mass murder and mayhem. Will such measures push the extremists to the dark side of the Internet? Perhaps. And while that wholesale move may make it a bit more challenging for intelligence and police agencies to follow ISIS and its ilk, it would rob the terrorists of their most effective marketing platforms.  We must put an end to the terrorists’ unchallenged sophisticated social media campaigns that continue to gain tens of thousands of young adherents in the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, and the US.  

To coopt similar action to 10 Downing Street by Capitol Hill, Social Media giants led by Facebook/Instagram, Google/YouTube, and Twitter, along with messaging Apps Telegram, WhatsApp, and Surespot, must immediately commit to unleash their unparalleled “big brother” and hi-tech prowess to degrade and eliminate the food chain of terrorism and hate from their midst.

If Silicon Valley fails to take effective action, terrorist onslaughts will continue and expand. And the era of the unfettered online golden goose could come to a screeching halt amidst Congressional hearings, legislation, and regulation.

Theresa May is right. Enough is enough!

Can you change the mind of a jihadist?


Of all the things I’ve read about the latest jihadist terror attack from London, one line in particular from Prime Minister Theresa May stood out.

Terrorism will only be defeated, she said, when we make young people “understand that our values, pluralistic British values, are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.”

But at the same time, May spoke about the need to crack down harder on those “young people” and the extremism that feeds them.

So, on the one hand, May wants to get tougher with the killers, while, on the other, convince them that British values are superior.

Maybe that represents, in a nutshell, the dilemma of fighting jihadist terrorism. To really win the war, you have to fight them physically and psychologically, but when you’re so busy with the physical, who’s got time for the psychological?

The focus in England right now clearly is on security, on preventing the next attack. Is there anyone on May’s team working on her goal of influencing values? I doubt it. The mood in the country is to stop the bad guys from killing — not to change their values.

But let’s do a thought experiment. Let’s imagine that, simultaneous to the crackdown, May would hire a marketing agency to create a campaign that might positively influence the bad guys. What would that look like?

One of the first things you learn in the advertising business is never to use the word “impossible.” There’s always the “best possible” answer to a problem, however unlikely it is that you can solve it. It’s about moving things forward — will the campaign make things a little better? Will it improve the odds of success?

Something else advertising teaches is to boil everything down to its essence — a few words, an image, a single thought. The goal is to light sparks, plant seeds, break the ice.

In our case, a key question is: How would you plant seeds of doubt in the mind of a jihadist who believes he’s doing God’s work when he slices the neck of a woman enjoying a beer in a British bar, or runs over pedestrians strolling happily on a Saturday night?

The easy thing to do would be to throw our hands up and give up. If someone thinks killing is holy, how do you counter that? But, like I said, this is a thought experiment. If the prime minister of England wants an ad campaign to influence the minds of religious extremists, what do you recommend?

In my mind, I see only one thing: We must fight holy with holy. They say killing is holy? We say life is holy.

The idea would be to rally leaders across all cultures and religions — especially Muslim leaders and preachers — to launch a “Life is Holy” campaign. The advertising would provide the sparks, but community leaders would preach the message on the ground.

A pervasive “Life is Holy” movement will, at the very least, put killers on notice that they no longer own holiness.

The campaign would reclaim holiness on behalf of life. We would promote the holiness of life with the same passion religious killers promote the holiness of killing. Instead of playing defense, life would play offense.

A “Life is Holy” message has some clear benefits: It’s true, believable, simple and passionate.

Of course, no marketing campaign can solve the problem of jihadist terrorism. There are too many jihadists who are moved by verses in the Quran that speak of killing the infidels, and too many preachers who feed this violence.

What marketing can do, however, is provide an aspirational vision. It can tell future generations of potential jihadists that real holiness lies in life, not killing. If enough Muslim preachers throughout the world reinforce this message in their sermons, we might begin to make a dent.

In her remarks, Prime Minister May spoke of cracking down on “safe spaces” online and in self-segregated Muslim communities that can harbor extremism.

If she is serious about doing this, she must infiltrate these extremist “safe spaces” with messages that promote the holiness of life — with billboards and memes, for example, that show the faces of people of all colors and religions as being worthy of holiness. Most critically, she must enlist local Muslim preachers to lead the way.

In sum, a “Life is Holy” campaign, if done right, can ignite an in-your-face pushback to the culture of death that infects the minds of jihadist killers. The “Life is Holy” message must be ubiquitous — it must be on T-shirts, street corners and social media. It must be loud enough to marginalize anyone who doesn’t support it.

In combination with a serious security crackdown, a pervasive “Life is Holy” movement will, at the very least, put killers on notice that they no longer own holiness.


David Suissa is president of TRIBE Media Corp./Jewish Journal and can be reached at davids@jewishjournal.com.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz (C) walks with the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani during a welcoming ceremony upon Hamad al-Thani's arrival to attend the Summit of South American-Arab Countries, in Riyadh November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser/File Photo

Like Israel’s occupation, the Qatar crisis, London attack have old roots


I recently argued that the 50-year anniversary of the Six-Day War has little significance: “What was then is history. What is now is reality,” I wrote. “The fact that the Six-Day War is or isn’t the reason for some of the challenges Israel faces today hardly matters.”

I contended that what most of the world calls the “occupation” “has lasted for 50 years is not relevant. It was not ideal in the first 50 years, and it will still not be the end of the world after 500 years.”

The last week has provided me with proof of that. Terrorism in London makes it clear that focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will do little to remedy the grievances of radicalized Muslims around the world. Palestine is not the source of the problem; it is merely one manifestation of it. And a new Arab coalition trying to pressure and isolate Qatar because of its ties to Iran and to other problematic elements in the Middle East proves that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the main item on the Arab agenda.

Both events demonstrate why arguments such as “Fifty years is too long,” “The world will not tolerate another 50 years of occupation,” and “If Israel doesn’t end the occupation, it will become a binational state” have little merit.

Fifty years is a long time? Sure it is. It is a long time in which relative stability was maintained for Israelis and Palestinians — except when Palestinians turned to terrorism.

The world will not tolerate it? I’d pause before making such predictions. The world has showed a great ability to tolerate much more severe situations, for which there were much simpler remedies, for a very long time.

Will Israel become a binational state? Nonsense. Israel always can choose to withdraw from territory to prevent such a scenario. Why do it now? Why do it when the dilemma is not yet acute, and the price of such an action would be higher than the benefit?


The conflict between Qatar and other Arab countries is a complicated story. It also began much longer than 50 years ago. It also has ups and downs, but no end in sight.

There is Arab infighting involved — the Egyptians, for example, are furious because of Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood. There is the larger story of Sunni versus Shiite, with Qatar playing the odd country out by having good relations with Shiite Iran. And while the United States, on the one hand, has military infrastructure in Qatar, it also encourages the Sunni states’ anti-Iran alliance.

There is the impact on other conflicts in the region, too. For example, there are questions about the impact of this strife on Hamas in Gaza, which relies heavily on Qatari support. There is the story of Turkey, another country that is trying to have it both ways and is not trying to mediate between the Qataris and the other Arab countries. Finally, there is Iran and its ability to take advantage of the situation (or lose as a result of it, depending on what happens next).

This is not the first crisis between Qatar and its Arab neighbors, but this one feels somewhat different, more severe. “The other Gulf leaders’ patience with Doha’s sometimes-maverick regional policies may have finally snapped,” wrote Kristian Coates Ulrichsen in The Atlantic.

That’s exactly what this looks like. It also looks like a crisis that was born in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s summit in Riyadh. So a summit that seemed successful and reassuring two weeks ago could end up igniting an unforeseen crisis of great consequences.

Trump will once again need to address a situation that his administration is of (at least) two minds about. The administration showed a tendency to partner with a Saudi-Egyptian led coalition against Iran, but it has interests in Qatar that it does not want to lose. Ideally, the U.S. will be able to navigate these treacherous waters and come out dry. But if the Saudis and the Egyptians insist on upping the ante, and force Qatar’s hand, this could become impossible.


Qatari and Saudi presence are both visible — highly visible — in London. Arab infighting is not something that Britain and other countries with large communities of Muslims, some of which are radicalized, can ignore.

What was the motivation behind the London attack? It is hard to define an exact motivation. Radicalized Muslims attack to wreak havoc. Election time provides them with an opportunity to make their attacks of greater consequence.

It is clear that Britain, like other countries in Europe, has a problem integrating some communities of Muslims. There are Muslims succeeding and excelling in Britain. But there are also too many who do not succeed, nor excel, nor appreciate British values and the great life they can have in this country.

How old is this problem? Its roots are surely more than 50 years old. Look how the numbers and percentages of Muslims in Britain jumped from 1961 to 1971 to 1981. From 50,000, to 250,000, to 500,000.

These attackers are influenced by outside forces in Pakistan, Syria, Iran and Libya, and they are financially supported by outside forces, as well. The groups they associate with have ties to governments, or to emissaries who speak for governments. Many of these governments talk out of both sides of their mouths. When they meet with Trump, they oppose terrorism. When Trump is back in Washington, they make sure to keep some channels to terror groups open.

This is just one fact that makes the fight against terrorism in London complicated. There also is the fact that many of the terrorists are home-grown Brits. There is the fact that some of the neighborhoods where these terrorist grew up are impassable to regular policing. Yes, there is also “political correctness,” as Trump implied in his ill-advised tweets lambasting the mayor of London for an innocent remark. But in truth, political correctness is fast disappearing in Europe’s fight against home-grown terrorism — and with every attack it will further erode.

Apparently, when people feel endangered, the layer of political correctness proves thin.


Now think again about Israel and the Palestinians. Political correctness is not an issue for us — we are experienced enough in fighting terrorism to be able to generally avoid this illness.

Complications are many. We know this. We don’t expect the conflict between Qatar and the Saudis to be resolved very soon, and we also don’t expect the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to end only because a long time has passed.

As for remedies, we know that actions often have unintended or unexpected consequences. President Trump could not foresee the impact of his Riyadh visit. He ought to remember that as he attempts to move the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward.

President Donald Trump at the White House on June 1. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Trump’s post-London attack tweets are chilling — and counter-productive


In popular myth, South Florida was ground zero of the Great Email Explosion of 2008.

That was the year your great-uncle or long-lost cousin couldn’t resist passing on rumors, hoaxes and conspiracy theories about Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, the true causes of 9/11 or the insidious nature of Islam. It wasn’t the invention of Fake News, but it provided the template for how social media users in 2016 would ignore obvious red flags to pass on bogus stories that confirmed their worldviews.

What happened to that elderly snow bird, who interrupted his nonstop viewing of Fox News only to fire off angry messages and unfounded rumors about The Other? Apparently, we elected him president.

In the hours after Saturday night’s terrorist attack in London, the president sent off a series of tweets that transformed the kind of event that usually unites the West in grief and determination into yet another episode of Trump Vs. World.

Somewhere between citing an early Drudge Report link on the London Bridge killings and calling out London’s Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan, the president used the killings to defend his travel ban, toss scorn on gun control and decry political correctness. It was a typical week of his presidential campaign boiled down to a few hours of 140-character messages.

“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough,” tweeted a president whose administration is woefully understaffed and whose top law enforcement agency lacks a director. “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”

This came even before he extended condolences to the victims of the London attack or offered America’s support to Britain and its leaders: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!”

That out of the way, it was back to politicizing the attacks: “We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don’t get smart it will only get worse.”

It’s not clear what Trump had in mind other than the court case over his attempt to ban travelers from several predominately Muslim countries. That’s the problem with Twitter and, increasingly, the Trump administration: Even on points where both sides ostensibly agree — protecting citizens from terror — the president governs by slogans, not policy. Some might argue that is a good thing: If his policy-making were as impulsive as his tweeting, who knows what kind of global mischief or military disaster he might lead the country into.

But like those emails from Florida, Trump’s tweets derail serious policy discussion. The talking heads line up on cable news, the editorials get written, and we’re no closer than we were before to understanding what really needs to be done in times of stability or crisis. Instead we talk about Trump. He isn’t acting presidential! He’s using disaster to score cheap political points! He’s still campaigning!

This sounds like a partisan gripe, although for the life of me I can’t figure out which side wins when Trump gets into Cranky Grandpa mode. Even his supporters argue that the daily crises of his own making are distracting from his broader agenda.

Perhaps most disturbing of all his tweets over the weekend was his unfounded but completely characteristic attack on Khan, by all accounts a popular mayor and real mensch. “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’” Trump tweeted Sunday morning, accusing Khan of being blase in the face of the attacks.

Perhaps Trump misunderstood what Khan had really said. The mayor, soon after the attack, told the BBC that he was “appalled and furious that these cowardly terrorists would target” innocent civilians. He vowed that “we will never let them win, nor will we allow them to cower our city.”

He then assured London residents who would see increased police presence around the city. “No reason to be alarmed. One of the things the police, all of us, need to do is make sure we’re as safe as we possibly can be,” he said. “I’m reassured that we are one of the safest global cities in the world, if not the safest global city in the world, but we always evolve and review ways to make sure that we remain as safe as we possibly can.”

In other words, “Keep calm and carry on.” If this were World War II, Trump might have accused Churchill of cowardice.

Except Churchill wasn’t a Muslim. There is no reason to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on this one. Remember the way he fired back at another Khan during the Democratic National Convention last year. When Khizr Khan, whose son died fighting for the United States in Iraq, criticized Trump’s policies and statements about Muslims, the then-candidate immediately played the religion card. Instead of defending his own policies or ignoring the remarks, Trump suggested that the dead soldier’s mother had not “been allowed” to speak at the convention, presumably for religious reasons. It was a chilling echo of a mindset that Jews find all too familiar, one that slots minorities, religious people and other “ethnics” into neat, defining categories. Muslim mom? Oppressed. A Muslim mayor? He must be soft on Islamist terror.

When Trump insists that we “must stop being politically correct,” he is defending this discredited worldview. Leaders from Paris to London to Washington, D.C. are aware that there is a radical Islam problem, and say so. The issue is not identifying the problem by name, but coming up with real-world solutions to a vicious offshoot of a vast religion. Critics of the travel ban aren’t pro-terrorism; in fact, many believe it is counterproductive precisely because it plays into ISIS’s notion of a world that hates Islam.

It has been tempting to dismiss Trump’s more Archie Bunkerish tendencies as a generational thing, just as we joked about those “Florida” emails as the work of retirees with too much time on their hands and too much Fox on their televisions. But a president has a responsibility to rise above petty prejudices and knee-jerk reactions and act — to use a by now tired word — presidential. That’s all the Jewish community was asking for during the spate of JCC bomb hoaxes and the weird Holocaust memorial contretemps, and what so many Americans are seeking in the face of the horrors in England, France and Portland, Oregon.

It’s not too much to ask for.

Police attend to a terrorist attack near London Bridge on June 3. Photo by Neil Hall/Reuters

British chief rabbi urges tolerance in face of London Bridge attack


British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis called on his countrymen to remain committed to the values of peace and tolerance in the wake of a terror attack in London that left at least seven people dead.

A white van rammed into pedestrians on London Bridge Saturday night. Three men reportedly exited the van and began stabbing the bystanders on the bridge and in Borough Market near the bridge. The attackers were shot and killed by police.

“In the wake of yet another attack, of more loss of life and of more families devastated by terror, every one of us will once again feel the now too familiar sense of horror and helplessness. After Westminster and Manchester we stood together defiant. Yet it seems the terrorists believe that where they have previously failed to poison our communities, with their destructive ideology of hatred and prejudice, they can succeed with still more bloodshed and murder. But we must not let them,” Mirvis said in a statement on his Facebook page.

“We will not be cowed or intimidated nor will we allow our commitment to the values of peace and tolerance to be diminished. In the face of every attack, however devastating, we must continue to cleave ever closer to these values because ultimately they are what will defeat the evil of terror,” he continued.

"In the wake of yet another attack, of more loss of life and of more families devastated by terror, every one of us will…

Posted by Chief Rabbi Mirvis on Saturday, June 3, 2017

London Metropolitan Police have labeled the van and knife attacks “terrorist incidents.” The stabbers were wearing fake explosive vests, police said.

Eyewitnesses told the BBC the stabbers shouted, “This is for Allah,” as they attacked.

The head of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Gillian Merron, in a statementcondemned the attack and praised the emergency services who came to the aid of the injured. “People of all faiths and none must come together to defeat this evil,” she said

The European Jewish Congress expressed “horror and sadness” over the attack.

“Unfortunately, once again London has been hit at its very center by a barbarous and repugnant terrorist killing spree. This strike, timed for just before the general elections, was meant to cower and instill fear in a great democracy,” Moshe Kantor, president of the EJC, said in a statement.

“However, we saw the resilience of the British people last night and we know it will continue as the government and police will do its utmost to find those behind these slayings.”

It is the third terror attack in the United Kingdom in as many months. In March, a car ramming and knife attack in Westminster left five people dead, and two weeks ago a bombing outside of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester killed 22 people, including young fans.

A benefit concert by Grande and several heavy-hitting music stars scheduled for Sunday night in Manchester will go on “with greater purpose. After the events last night in London, and those in Manchester just two weeks ago, we feel a sense of responsibility to honor those lost, injured, and affected,” Grande’s manager, Scooter Braun, said Sunday morning in a statement.

“We plan to honor them with courage, bravery, and defiance in the face of fear. Today’s One Love Manchester benefit concert will not only continue, but will do so with greater purpose. We must not be afraid and in tribute to all those affected here and around the world, we will bring our voices together and sing loudly. “

Prayers for Manchester


Last week I flew to London with my son, where we spent a day together, then he left on a wonderful adventure. He is spending 6 days on a whirlwind European trip. It freaks me out of course, because the world is scary, but I am happy for him. He is travelling alone so he can make his own schedule, see what he wants, and do what he wants, when he wants.  I am thrilled he is brave, and very proud he gets that quality from me.

Following the attack this week in Manchester, I feel frightened all the time. I walked to the market in London today and was so nervous I went home before making it there. I watched kids on scooters, enjoying a sunny London day, and I wanted them to all go home and stay safe. It is horrible to be on edge like this. I worry about my son being on his own, but am thankful he’s not here, where we are on a high terror alert.

Last time I was in London there was an attack on Westminster Bridge, and now innocent children have been murdered in Manchester. My heart is broken and I want to look away, but find myself unable to turn off the news. I am on edge, which makes me angry. The attack in Manchester makes me really angry. The targeting of children is beyond horrific and my heart breaks for the families who have been touched by hatred in this way.

From the mothers who were killed while waiting to pick their kids, and the kids who saved up money to see their favorite singer, I am unable to process what it was like for them. The world is dark and I am seeing it from a scarier perspective in London. There are police and armed guards everywhere, which is comforting, but they are in the same danger as those of us they protect. How can we feel safe when these attacks come with an element of surprise?

We are living in a time of great unknown and it can be paralyzing. I want to empower myself to be brave and not let terrorism dictate how I live my life, but I am a mother and so it does. My son has been checking in every few hours while he is on holiday, and it is keeping me sane. In the end he does it as much for his sake as mine. He is worried about me being in London when there is so much going on. The communication matters.

My boy will join me in London on Saturday and we will spend another few days in Europe together before returning to Los Angeles. It will be wonderful to be in London with him as this is my favorite city and he is my favorite person. We will be cautious, and we will be together. Life goes on, but we must never forget these attacks and never forget the souls who were lost. To the amazing people of Manchester, my prayers go out to you. I am holding you close and keeping the faith.

Manchester, Israel


Suicide Terror Attack Opens Painful Wounds

A Manchester suicide bomb attack on young people leaving a concert and memories of the what Israelis endured for years flood into my mind. The faces of the young people murdered at the Dolphinarium Disco, the Sbarro Cafe, on city buses, and at urban malls across the country flood back into view.

The bloodshed reawakens the trauma from all those years ago.

From 2001-2005, at least 136 suicide attacks were launched against Israel. During the Palestinian Al-Aqsa Intifada, Sept. 2000 – Dec. 2005, a total of 1,100 Israelis were killed and many thousands were injured, paralyzed, and maimed.

I don’t know how Britain will respond to the latest attack terror against innocent Brits.

I don’t know how Britain will respond to the faces of 22 dead concertgoers who had their entire lives in front of them, who are going to be buried this week.

I don’t know how Britain will respond to the dozens of injured, who will have to spend years rebuilding their lives, and only some who will regain full use of their bodies.

However, the next time a British politician of journalist condemns Israel’s response to Palestinian terrorism I ask all of us to remind these people of the names and stories off all those killed, injured and maimed in Manchester.

May God comfort those in mourning and heal the sick and take revenge on those that perpetrated this horror.

Police officers standing in front of the Manchester Arena in England, where a suspected suicide bomber killed at least 22 people on May 23. Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Rooting out extremism is an evolving battle


Less than a week before the May 22 attack at a concert in Manchester, England, I returned from a 10-day fact-finding trip to Europe on countering violent extremism.  

It is tragic that the trip, organized by the U.S. State Department, proved to be so timely. But I gained insights that helped me process and confront the all-too-frequent tragedies like Manchester. Despite countries’ differences in approaches, the core takeaways were consistent:  

1. “You can’t investigate your way out of this.” — A representative of New Scotland Yard SO15 (the London Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command)

Using only a criminal lens — surveillance, investigation, disruption, prosecution, etc. — limits the success of law enforcement in identifying threats. Our delegation heard from law enforcement and government officials across the spectrum that the most important tool in their kit is the trust of those communities most vulnerable to extremism.

Community-based organizations are essential to this strategy. The more robust the civic fabric, the greater the sense of social cohesion; the more people see themselves as having a stake and a voice in society, the less rationale there is for attacking the system. Communities most vulnerable are not blind to the problem in their midst. When engaged and supported as partners (not potential threats), they often will identify ways to address the problems with a greater cultural literacy and legitimacy than any government or law enforcement official could ever bring.

2. “Safeguarding against extremism is no different than safeguarding against drugs, gangs and sex trafficking. It’s out there and we want you to be able to protect yourselves from it.”— Prevent instructor to British students

Messaging matters. Great Britain’s Prevent program — a centralized governmental effort to safeguard against violent extremism — still suffers from a faulty launch that undermined its effectiveness. Many people perceived its focus to be solely on the Muslim community and treating the community as criminals in waiting.

By shifting to a message of safeguarding people vulnerable to recruitment by extremists and making it clear the program addresses all forms of extremism, Britain is just now starting to repair the perception and increase trust, though one nonprofit leader articulated concerns that the “horse has already left the barn” and that the program always will be tainted by the bad branding of its faulty launch.

Community leaders and parents need to know that when they have concerns about their kids or friends radicalizing, they will be given the intervention and help they need. The collaboration of mental health professionals, schools, faith communities and other community-based organizations are essential partners in identifying people who are at risk of or already on the path to radicalizing. Understanding this kind of violence as a public health issue can help engage a broader network of partners in the fight.

3. “Targeting Muslims is counterproductive. You have to identify extremist behavior.”  — Horace Frank, Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief of counterterrorism

Focusing exclusively on Muslims undermines the relationships needed in the Muslim community to identify and uproot real ISIS-inspired threats. It also ignores a rising statistical threat from extremist right-wing nationalists.

Nearly 20 percent of referrals for suspicious behavior in England are for right-wing extremism. While one might think that’s because the problem is grossly over-reported, about 10 percent of those serving time in prison for terrorism-related charges are radical right-wing nationalists.

In our American context, Muslim organizations correctly claim they are more likely to be on the receiving end of a violent hate crime than guilty of committing one. When law enforcement is present to protect minorities, it builds trust in those communities.

Like many Jewish institutions in Los Angeles, some local mosques received threats of violence in recent months. Those threats against the mosques were credible. Police arrested an Agoura Hills man with an arsenal of weapons and a plan to attack. The way that law enforcement stood with Muslim community leaders in that moment reflected the deep relationship-building that has happened for years at the local level.

Unfortunately, the rhetoric at the national level has framed violent extremism as an exclusively Muslim problem. It undermines the extraordinary work that has happened locally between Muslim leaders and law enforcement. Many Muslim organizations have built sophisticated programs to safeguard their communities from ISIS-inspired extremism.

But some are now having second thoughts about moving forward with these programs or are considering outright rejection of federal funds to support their work. This is not because they no longer think it is needed. They fear the money will come with problematic strings attached or that it may undermine their internal legitimacy for collaborating with those who amplify anti-Muslim sentiment. Local trust-building can go only so far in the midst of a toxic national conversation.

4. Despite our best efforts, governments now treat acts of violent extremism as a question of when, not whether, they will happen.  

Part of the holistic approach to this work also includes effective disaster response that can help contain the impact and lessen the casualties. In the aftermath of Manchester, there will be new lessons learned in this ever-evolving battle.

I also returned from the delegation with three lessons on how the Jewish community can be on the front lines of safeguarding against extremism.

First, our community must become more nuanced in our relationship with the Muslim community. The more integrated the Muslim community is in America, the less ISIS-inspired extremism can take hold here. We isolate and reject mainstream Muslim leaders at our own peril. Undermining these leaders empowers extremists who think ISIS is fundamentally right about the incompatibility of Islam and democracy. If you care about ISIS-inspired terrorism, then you also should care about fending off Islamophobia. We can and should disagree fiercely with our Muslim counterparts about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And we should not be afraid to call out when we see rhetoric cross the line into anti-Semitism. But isolation and exclusion feed the narrative of extremists. This is not merely a progressive talking point — it is a best practice from among the most experienced law enforcement professionals and government officials in the world.

Second, language matters. We must apply consistent rhetoric when speaking about various forms of extremism. The shooter at the AME Church in Charleston, S.C., and the thwarted attacker on the Los Angeles mosques are extremists just as much as the shooters in San Bernardino.

As part of this strategy of thoughtful language, I now will refrain from using the term Islamism when referring to extremism that emerges cloaked in religious garb. While this term seeks to differentiate ISIS and al-Qaida from Islam proper, it still retains the association that violence is inherent to Islam. I take my cue from a former Department of Homeland Security employee who uses the terminology “ISIS-inspired” or “al-Qaida-inspired” to refer to this kind of extremism. It ensures both that we avoid vilifying Islam and that we make it harder for vulnerable Muslim kids to see ISIS as a legitimate expression of Islam.  

Third, the great work of Jewish organizations in mental health, social services, refugee assistance and interfaith collaboration — from Jewish Family Service to NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change to HIAS — are going to be on the front lines of safeguarding against extremism in American society. They do this by serving the vulnerable in our midst, spotting potential issues before they become credible threats, and by modeling for other minority communities with less developed infrastructures.  

The Los Angeles mayor’s office frames this work as “building healthy communities.” The Jewish community has tremendous experience and expertise to contribute on this front. This week has taught us we have no choice but to work even harder toward our goal. 

Emergency responders arriving at the Manchester Arena following a bomb attack at an Ariana Grande concert on May 22. Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images

In Manchester, Jews have been preparing for an attack for years


Britain’s bloodiest terrorist attack in over a decade occurred Monday just two miles from Rabbi Yisroel Cohen’s synagogue.

Yet one day after the deadly bombing in Manchester, Cohen told JTA he has no intention of changing security arrangements at his congregation.

In fact Cohen, a Chabad emissary who works in a Jewish enclave in the northern part of the city surrounded by a heavily Muslim area, said there is little room for improving security across his tight-knit community.

After all, the Jewish community in Manchester — one of the U.K.’s fastest-growing spots thanks to an influx of immigrants and young couples seeking alternatives to pricey London — has been on its highest alert since long before the explosion that killed 22 people and wounded 50 at an Ariana Grande concert. On Tuesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the act.

“Well, the radio equipment is working, the residents have been briefed, police are patrolling, security professionals from the Jewish community have been in place since the attacks in Belgium” last year, Cohen said when asked about security. “There is only so much you can do – except pray.”

On Kings Road, a busy street of the heavily Jewish borough of Prestwich, residents keep an eye out for strangers. Any abnormal behavior – particularly photography or the gathering of information — quickly invites polite but firm inquiries by both passers-by as well as shopkeepers who cater to the local population of haredi and modern Orthodox Jews.

The vigilance in Jewish Manchester owes much of its preparation and training to the local police, the Community Security Trust organization and other groups. But it is also born of circumstance: Manchester’s some 30,000 Jews are concentrated in a relatively small area. This makes them an easy target, but it also means that the community’s institutions are easier to protect and vigilance is easier to instill.

While there are also concentrations of Jews in North London, in Manchester — a city of 2.5 million, where 15.8 percent of the population is Muslim — there is added tension because the Jewish and Muslim communities live in close proximity. Kings Road, for example, is sandwiched between the Judaica World bookstore on its western end and the Masjid Bilal mosque on its eastern one.

This juxtaposition in recent years has generated some friction, including in the harassment of Jews on the street and the occasional violent incident.

At least one more premeditated plan to attack Manchester Jews was uncovered and foiled five years ago. In 2012, a British judge imprisoned a Muslim couple, Mohammed Sajid  and Shasta Khan, for seven years for gathering intelligence on Manchester Jews for an attack.

 

“That incident came at a time of reassessment about the threat to Jews in Manchester, and it was one of the reasons that led to a complete overhaul,” Cohen said.

“So today, we in the Jewish community are perhaps less surprised than others at what happened,” the rabbi added, though he also said that Mancunian Jews are “shocked at the horror” witnessed at the concert.

Paul Harris, editor of the city’s Jewish Telegraph weekly, told JTA he generally agrees that Manchester’s Jewish community is well prepared to deal with any emergency or fallout thereof, but he also flagged one weak point: On evenings and afternoons, observant Jews in the city congregate outside synagogue — a habit that makes them an easy target and which, for that reason, has largely been abandoned in at-risk communities in France and beyond.

“Maybe that will change now,” Harris said.

In a statement Tuesday following a suspect’s arrest, Prime Minister Theresa May said the bombing was a “callous terrorist attack” that targeted “defenseless young people.” Police believe a homemade explosive vest was detonated by a suicide bomber who may or may not have been working alone.

The explosion ripped through the 21,000-seat Manchester Arena at 10:30 p.m. after Grande, a 23-year-old pop singer from the United States, had already left the stage. At least 12 of the 22 killed in the attack were children younger than 16. News of the explosion sent worried parents to the arena, where children, teenagers and young adults streamed out of the main exit in a state of panic.

Cohen said that Chabad was not aware of Jewish fatalities in the attack.

The attack happened a little over two weeks before the June 8 general election in which hardliner Theresa May from the Conservative Party is running against Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party. The attack may further increase May’s lead in the polls on Corbyn, a left-leaning promoter of outreach to Muslims who has called Hezbollah and Hamas his friends.

Last year Corbyn — amid intense criticism in the media and from members of his own party for his perceived failures in curbing expressions of anti-Semitism within Labour’s ranks — said he regretted expressing affection to the two Islamist terror groups. Following the attack Monday, all parties agreed to suspend campaigning for three days.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a joint news conference Tuesday in Jerusalem with President Donald Trump, who was visiting Israel, referenced the attack in criticizing incitement to terrorism by the Palestinian Authority under its president, Mahmoud Abbas.

“President Abbas condemned the horrific attack in Manchester,” Netanyahu said while standing next to Trump. “Well, I hope this heralds a real change, because if the attacker had been Palestinian and the victims had been Israeli children, the suicide bomber’s family would have received a stipend from the Palestinian Authority. That’s Palestinian law. That law must be changed.”

Speaking in Bethlehem, Trump joined other world leaders who condemned the attack.

“I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. I will call them losers,” he said.

Back in Manchester, Rabbi Shneur Cohen of the Chabad Manchester Center City organized a food and drinks distribution to police officers who were stationed outside the arena where the attack took place.

“We are Manchester, we stand together,” Cohen told reporters at the scene.

But Harris, the Jewish Telegraph editor, said that despite such gestures, “there is definitely a silence, a shocked silence” in the city following the attack.

President Donald Trump shaking hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a joint news conference in Bethlehem, in the West Bank on May 23. Photo by Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Meeting with Abbas, Trump calls Manchester attackers ‘evil losers’


Meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, Donald Trump condemned those behind the deadly bombing in Manchester, England, the night before as “evil losers.”

“So many young beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life. I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term,” Trump said in a joint news conference with Abbas on the second day of the U.S. president’s two-day visit to Israel and the West Bank. “They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers because that’s what they are.”

At least 22 people were killed as they exited a concert by the American pop star Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena. Police said the attack was carried out by a lone suspect who died in the explosion. The Islamic State has taken responsibility.

Abbas also expressed his “warm condolences” to the victims of the attack and to the British people.

Discussing his talks with Abbas, Trump spoke of achieving a peace deal, saying “I am committed to trying to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and I intend to do everything I can to help them achieve that goal. President Abbas assures me he is ready to work toward that goal in good faith, and Prime Minister Netanyahu has promised the same. I look forward to working with these leaders toward a lasting peace.”

On Monday, Trump met with Benjamin Netanyahu at the Israeli prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, where he also spoke of possibilities for recharging the peace process.

“There are many things that can happen now that could never have happened before,” Trump said during the visit. “We must seize them together. We must take advantage of the situation.”

In his appearance with Abbas, Trump made what many took as a reference to Palestinian payments to the families of terrorists. The practice of paying “martyrs” and their families dates back decades and survived the Oslo peace process launched in 1993.

“Peace can never take root in an environment where violence is tolerated, funded and even rewarded,” Trump said.

He also called for zero tolerance for terror.

“We must be resolute in condemning such acts in a single unified voice,” the U.S. leader said.

In his remarks, Abbas said he has no problem with Judaism. He said the Palestinians’ “fundamental problem is with occupation and settlements and the failure of Israel to recognize the state of Palestine as we recognize it.”

Abbas said the Palestinians “are committed to working with [Trump] to reach a historic peace deal between us and Israel.”

Police officers standing in front of the Manchester Arena in England, where a suspected suicide bomber killed at least 22 people on May 23. Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images

22 killed in suspected terror attack at Ariana Grande concert in England


At least 22 people were killed in a suspected terrorist attack during a concert in northern England by the American pop star Ariana Grande.

Grande was not hurt in the explosion Monday night at the 21,000-seat Manchester Arena, which Prime Minister Theresa May said was likely a terrorist attack, The Guardian reported. British authorities said the explosion may have come from an explosive vest detonated in the crowd by a suicide bomber.

On Tuesday, the Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Many of the dozens wounded in the attack were teenagers and young adults, according to Reuters. Worried parents began arriving at the arena in search of their loved ones.

The attack was the deadliest in Britain since 2005 bombings in London left 52 people dead.

The European Jewish Congress condemned the “appalling and barbaric terrorist attack” in a statement issued hours after the bombing, which occurred as the concert was nearing its end.

“This horrific attack demonstrates once again that the enemies of civilization have no boundaries,” said Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the EJC. “This was a concert attended by mostly youth and children and is a ghastly reminder that terrorism sees all of us as potential targets, regardless of age, religion, nationality or background.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement condemned the attack and sent condolences to the families of the victims.

“Terrorism is a global threat and the enlightened countries must work together to defeat it everywhere,” he said.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder condemned the attack as “despicable and horrendous.”

“The world stands united in its resolve to confront and defeat the scourge of terrorism,” he said in a statement. “Our liberties and our way of life shall triumph.”

Grande, 23, wrote on Twitter that she was “broken” and “so sorry.” The singer grew up Catholic but left the faith over the treatment of homosexuals in favor of Kabbalah Jewish studies that in 2014 she said “changed her life.”

The attack comes about two weeks before the United Kingdom’s general election in which May, a hard-liner from the center-right Conservative Party, is running against the left-wing Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, who supports boycotting Israeli settlements and is widely perceived as having tried to promote better relations and understanding between mainstream British parties and groups associated with radical Islam.

May called an early election following the resignation last year of David Cameron, also a Conservative, who stepped down from the prime minister’s post following a referendum he called in which a majority of voters rejected his position that the United Kingdom should stay in the European Union. Immigration by Muslims and other foreigners played a central role in the debate about whether the kingdom should leave or remain within the bloc it helped establish in the 1970s.

A screen capture from a recent Hamza Bin Laden video.

Osama bin Laden’s son calls for attacks on Jewish targets


A son of Osama bin Laden called on Muslims and followers of al-Qaida to carry out attacks on Jewish targets around the world.

In a 10-minute video released over the weekend, Hamza bin Laden urges Muslims in “America, the West and occupied Palestine” to carry out the attacks where they are.

The video includes clips of terrorist attacks that have been perpetrated around the world, including in Israel.

Bin Laden opines that it is not necessary, or even preferable, to travel to Syria and join the Islamic State. “Know that inflicting punishment on Jews and crusaders where you are present is more vexing and severe for the enemy,” he says.

American and NATO targets are appropriate where there are no Jewish targets, he says.

Police at the scene where a young British woman was killed in a stabbing attack in Jerusalem on April 14. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

British woman in her 20s killed in Jerusalem stabbing attack; Palestinian man held


A British woman in her 20s studying in Israel was stabbed to death in Jerusalem allegedly by a Palestinian.

The woman, named by Israel’s envoy to the United Kingdom as Hannah Bladon, died following the Friday attack. She had been taken to the hospital in critical condition after suffering multiple stab wounds aboard the city’s light rail, Israel Radio reported. Police said she was attacked by a 57-year-old man from eastern Jerusalem’s Ras al Amud neighborhood.

Yoram Halevi, commander of the Jerusalem District of the Israel Police, told the radio station that the suspect is mentally ill and has a criminal record for domestic violence. He was apprehended at the scene.

“We know he recently tried to commit suicide,” Halevi said.

Israel’s envoy to the U.K., Marg Regev, condemned the attack on Twitter.

My thoughts are with the family and friends of UK student Hannah Bladon, who was murdered in a senseless act of terror in Jerusalem today.

Following the attack, police increased security in and around the light rail, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld wrote on Twitter.

jThe victim is a citizen of the United Kingdom studying in Israel, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The number of recorded terrorist attacks by Palestinians on Israelis increased last month by 15 percent from the previous month to 119 incidents, the Israel Security Agency, or Shin Bet, said in its monthly report published earlier this week. No one was killed; six were injured.

The 20 attacks recorded in Jerusalem in March constitute a 30 percent increase over the 14 there in February.

A train carriage damaged from an explosion at Tekhnologicheskiy institut metro station in St. Petersburg, Russia, on April 3. Photo by Mikhail Ognev/Fontanka.ru

Israel sends condolences, support to Russia following deadly subway bombing


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin after at least 10 people were killed in a bombing attack on a St. Petersburg subway.

“On behalf of the Government of Israel, I send condolences to President Putin and to the families of those who were murdered following today’s bombing on the St. Petersburg subway,” Netanyahu wrote Monday in a statement hours after the afternoon blast, which also injured dozens more. “The citizens of Israel stand alongside the Russian people at this difficult time.”

The homemade bomb filled with shrapnel detonated in a moving subway car after Putin had arrived in his hometown for a visit. A more powerful bomb was discovered later at a nearby train station and defused.

The attack shut down the entire subway system in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is criticizing YouTube for allowing the proliferation of videos such as this one, posted by an account associated with the terrorist group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

YouTube, Google graded poorly on hate, terrorism by Wiesenthal Center


The video-sharing site YouTube and its parent company, Google, fared poorly in the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s annual social media report card for their handling of hate- and terrorism-related material.

The Wiesenthal Center, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that fights hate speech, says YouTube is being exploited by terrorists to encourage acts of violence and instruct would-be attackers in their methods. The site received a C- in the category of “terrorism” and a D for “hate.”

“Google/YouTube is rightfully under fierce criticism for placing digital ads from major international brands like AT&T and Johnson & Johnson next to extremist videos celebrating terrorist attacks that should never have been allowed on its platform in the first place,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, said March 28 at the media briefing where the grades were unveiled. It took place at the New York City comptroller’s office, four blocks from ground zero.

DTH grades17_Poster

Courtesy of Simon Wiesenthal Center.

He said the Wiesenthal Center awarded YouTube its low grades for allowing terrorism “how to” videos to proliferate on its platform, and for failing to take down thousands of posts by hate groups. He pointed to a number of videos posted on the site in the wake of a recent terrorist attack outside the Houses of Parliament in London, praising the attack and encouraging others to follow suit.

YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A more in-depth report, “Digital Terrorism + Hate,” available at digitalhate.net, details the ways in which terrorist groups use social media to recruit, network and instruct potential attackers. The report names a number of accounts, tactics and pages associated with terrorism.

“Frankly, one of the things that we need is for the companies to be more responsive to their responsibilities,” Cooper told the Journal. “Almost all the companies set rules, and some try a lot harder than others to live up to them.”

He lauded recent changes at Twitter, whose grades have improved since the Wiesenthal Center began issuing the report cards in 2015. The company’s grade for “hate” rose from a D to a C since last year. Cooper said the change was due to Twitter’s move to deactivate hundreds of thousands of accounts associated with terrorism and hate speech.

Facebook received the highest marks because of its “sophisticated in-house system of blocking” objectionable accounts and content, according to Cooper. Other platforms, such as YouTube and Twitter, are reactive rather than proactive, he said.

But in general, Cooper said Silicon Valley has demonstrated a lack of leadership when it comes to fighting hate online. He said the Wiesenthal Center hopes to convene social media companies to comprehensively address the problems of digital hate speech and web use by terrorists. Failing that, the nonprofit would look into other, more drastic measures.

“If they don’t get a handle on this, we can be looking at the horrible R-word — regulation,” he said in the interview. “I’m not particularly enamored with that solution. It’s always messy when you go to Washington.”

However, he said he will be educating public officials about the trends highlighted in the report.

At the press conference, Cooper also announced that the Wiesenthal Center will be offering tutorials for high school students “to empower young people to deal with the tsunami of hate.” The center plans to pilot the tutorials with teens in New York City.

He told the Journal, “Since they usually see [online hate speech] before the adults anyway, we’re going to do our best to try to empower them with some guidelines about how to deal with it.”

President Donald Trump, right, reaches to greet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a joint news conference at the White House on Feb. 15. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Netanyahu to Trump: Let’s vanquish ‘militant Islam’


WASHINGTON (JTA) – Echoing the language favored by President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told AIPAC that Israel would work with the United States to defeat the “forces of militant Islam.”

“We must be sure that the forces of militant Islam are defeated,” Netanyahu said in a video address Monday morning to the Israel lobby AIPAC’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.  “I’m confident the United States and Israel will stand together shoulder to shoulder to ensure light triumphs over darkness.”

Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, drew criticism from Republicans and Trump for not naming Islam as an element in the threat faced by the United States in the Middle East and domestically. Trump, in turn, has drawn criticism for unnecessarily alienating moderate Muslims for emphasizing Islam in phrases like “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Netanyahu has made clear his preference for Trump over Obama and he referred in his remarks to his meeting with Trump last month in Washington.

“As you know I had an excellent, warm meeting with President Trump,” he said. “I want to thank the president for his strong support for Israel.”

He praised Trump’s envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, for “standing up for what’s right” at the body. The Obama administration, in its final days, for the first time allowed through an anti-settlements resolution on the U.N. Security Council, leading to openly bitter rebukes from Israeli officials.

Netanyahu intertwined the threat Israel perceives from Iran and its potential for acquiring a nuclear weapon with the threat from the Islamic State, or ISIS.

Trump’s focus has been the Islamic threat. Despite his campaign rhetoric deriding the deal Obama reached with Iran trading sanctions relief for a nuclear rollback, he has barely touched the issue as president.

Defeating militant Islam, Netanyahu said at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee gathering, “means confronting Iran’s aggression in the region and around the world. It means utterly vanquishing ISIS.”

Netanyahu sounded amenable to Trump’s bid to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and extend it to a broader peace deal, although he reiterated familiar demands, including that the Palestinian Authority end incitement, stop payments to families of killed or jailed terrorists, and recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

He also extended a “warm” welcome to David Friedman, confirmed last week as ambassador to Israel in a mostly party-line vote. Democrats opposed Friedman, a longtime lawyer to Trump, because of his deep philanthropic investment in the settlements and  his demeaning broadsides against liberal Jews, which he said he regrets.

Netanyahu alluded to Friedman’s declaration last year, when Trump nominated him, that he hoped to serve as ambassador in Jerusalem. Trump, who as a candidate pledged to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, has retreated from the promise as president and now says he is considering it.

“David, I look forward to welcoming you warmly to Israel and especially to Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said.

London terror: No. 30,499 in a series


Commenting on the recent London attack that killed four and injured at least 50, the acting Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Mark Rowley, told the BBC that it was “Islamist-related terrorism.”

A day earlier, on March 21, an Islamist suicide car bomber killed 10 people in Mogadishu, Somalia.

A day before that, two dozen people were blown up by an Islamist car bomber in a Baghdad neighborhood. 

Two days before that, a mother and her two children were among four people wiped out by three Islamist suicide bombers in Maiduguri, Nigeria.

A day before that, Islamist Shiite rebels fired two rockets into a Sunni mosque in Yemen, killing 34 people during Friday prayers.

On the same day in Paris, the throats of a father and son were slit by a family member yelling “Allah Akbar (God is great).”

A day earlier, a young child was blown to bits by an Islamist suicide bomber in Bangladesh.

On that same day, March 16, in South Ukkadam, India, an atheist was hacked to death by an angry Muslim over Facebook posts attacking his religion.

I know it’s painful to consider that 30,499 deadly attacks could be committed in the name of one religion.

That is just a little glimpse of weekly terror from the Third World and elsewhere. Worldwide, since 9/11, Islamist terrorists have carried out 30,499 deadly terror attacks, according to the independent watchdog site TheReligionOfPeace.com.

Most of these attacks never make it to CNN or The New York Times, because the victims don’t live in places like London, Brussels or San Bernardino. In the West, we see a fraction of the carnage done in the name of Islam. No matter how much media attention we give to the attacks on our soil, it doesn’t come close to capturing the scope of the global problem.

I know it’s painful to consider that 30,499 deadly attacks could be committed in the name of one religion. It challenges our narrative that all religions are pretty much the same, that there’s good and bad in all religions, and there’s no special reason to focus on one in particular. This is a comforting narrative that can lull us into complacency.

Still, there is an aspirational value to that narrative. It gives us something to look forward to. For humanity to succeed, we need it to become true. We need a reformation of Islam so that, one day, the number 30,499 will be reduced to a very low number and we can truly say that the religion is just like any other.

Because right now, it’s not. Too much killing, too much horror is done in its name.

It’s no longer enough to say, “This is not Islam.” For the killers doing the killing, it is Islam. It may be a radicalized, supremacist version of Islam, but there’s enough supporting text in the Quran to make the killers believe they’re doing God’s work.

Despite our efforts to counter this radical Islam, reform only gets more distant and the violence only gets worse. Defending the faith, accusing extremists of perverting it and engaging in interfaith projects is fine, but it’s not enough. True reform must come from the inside, not from interfaith but from innerfaith, from Muslims taking responsibility for the violence done in their name. 

It will come from Muslims who have the courage to acknowledge and confront the extremist parts of their texts and reinterpret them in a holy way that will honor their faith.

One such group is the little-known Muslim Reform Movement, a group of Muslim scholars and spiritual activists whose leaders call for “a respectful, merciful and inclusive interpretation of Islam” and reject interpretations that call for “any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam.”

For some reason, this movement has gained little traction among progressive circles, even though its founding declaration sounds like a love letter to progressive values. Going forward, we must ensure that such moderate groups are no longer marginalized by the mainstream, and are empowered to make progress in their supremely difficult mission.

We must pray that their nonviolent and tolerant interpretation of Islam will one day take hold throughout the jihadist world and win over the hearts of the killers, even if it takes a century. We must pray that the number 30,499 will eventually be reduced to zero.

Yes, that would be a miracle for humanity and for Islam, but God is great.


David Suissa is president of TRIBE Media Corp./Jewish Journal and can be reached at davids@jewishjournal.com.

Praying in London


I have spent much of the past six months in London. It is my adopted home and I love it here. I have a tight group of friends and colleagues in this wonderful city. I enjoy every minute that I am blessed to be in London, a city my father loved so much. I walk every day and my favorite route is to walk is across Westminster Bridge then across to the Tower Bridge, passing Shakespeare’s Globe Theater along the way. It is about a 5 mile walk and a treasured part of my time here. I listen to the soundtracks of Bridget Jones movies and am happy.

I do my walk three days a week. Yesterday however, I didn’t go because I was busy and didn’t have time. I never walk at a set time, so it is impossible to know if I would have been on the bridge during the terrorist attack, but I am shaken. I am sad for those who lost their lives, those in the hospital, and the witnesses of this cowardly attack. I am thankful for the first responders who bravely helped. I am also worried for my Muslim friends here, who feel this attack on levels I won’t ever understand. The world is dark and hate is truly powerful.

It is exhausting to hear the hate. It chisels away at my heart and I hear it every day. People in line at the market, on the subway, having coffee. Everyone speaks freely and loudly about how all the problems in the world are because of Muslims. They say it in front of Muslims. They speak of how every terrorist in the world is Muslim and they must all go. I’m not sure where exactly they want them to go, but as a Jew, and an intelligent human being, it breaks my heart and frightens me to hear of the persecution of a group of people based on faith.

I walked again today, but chose a different route, mostly to stay out of the way. I walked through London this morning because life goes on. I am praying for this city and her people as I count down the days until I go home and hug my son. I’m thankful for my amazing readers, who immediately upon hearing of the attack, reached out to see if I was okay, knowing I am often on Westminster Bridge. I felt embraced and comforted. I am grateful for the opportunities that brought me to London and I hope all of us here can keep the faith.

 

President Donald Trump signs an executive order in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 27. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

Why I’m for vetting, but against Trump’s ban


I wanted to take the time to lay out clearly why I dislike Trump’s executive order on immigration. I think there’s been too much of people (including me) getting angry about it without explaining why. You can’t have a debate that revolves around anger, it has to be about ideas and facts.

I want to start by saying that I support vetting people coming to the US. I particularly support vetting people who want to become permanent residents here. That’s both logical, and moral. I have no argument against that.

The reason Trump’s order troubles me is two-fold. The first part that troubles me is that it’s focused on the wrong places. Trump chose to ban entry from seven countries that certainly have major terrorist activity, however they’re not the countries that have posed the most threat to America. Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, and Syria certainly have their problems, but the sad truth is that American allies like Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia have produced far more terrorists over the years. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in American history, was a mostly Saudi Arabian affair.

Lets look at the attacks since 2010 and see the origin or familial background of the attackers:

2010 Times Square Bombing
– Faisal Shahzad (Pakistan)

2010 Arlington Bomb Plot
– Farooque Ahmed (Pakistan)

2010 Virginia Military Shootings
– Yonathan Melaku (Ethiopia)

2010 Portland Car Bomb Plot
– Mohamed Mohamud (Somalia)

2013 Boston Bombings
– Tzarnaev Brothers (Chechnya)

2014 Seattle/NJ Shootings
– Ali Muhammad Brown (African-American Convert to Islam)

2014 Vaughn Foods Beaheading Incident
– Alton Nolen (American Convert to Islam)

2014 NYPD Killings
– Ismaaiyl Brinsley (African American Muslim)

2015 Islamic Art Contest Shooting in Texas
– Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi (American Convert & Pakistani Descent)

2015 Chattanooga Shootings
– Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez (Kuwait)

2015 UC Merced Stabbings
– Faisal Mohammad (Pakistani Descent)

2015 San Bernardino Shooting
– Rizwan Farook and Tafsheen Malik (Pakistan)

2016 Columbus Melee
– Mohamed Barry (Somalia)

2016 Pulse Nightclub Shooting
– Omar Mateen (Afghan Descent)

2016 Roanoke Stabbings
– Wasil Farooqi (American-born Muslim of unknown origin)

2016 Minnesota Mall Stabbings
– Dahir A. Adan (Somalia)

2016 NY/NJ Bombings
– Ahmad Khan Rahami (Afghan)

2016 Ohio State Attack
– Abdul Razak Ali Artan (Somalia)

Looking at that list, it would seem like Pakistan, Somalia, and Afghanistan would be the three countries of origin of most concern, however only Somalia is on Trump’s list.

In fact, Somalia is the only country on Trump’s list that had US terrorists that hailed from it in this decade. The other countries had ZERO. Countries like Kuwait, Chechnya, and Ethiopia have produced terrorists that attacked the US, but they’re also not on the list.

This is the first reason I dislike Trump’s ban. It’s poorly targeted. It’s not even hitting the places that have hit us the hardest. That’s either foolish, or willfully stupid.

I’ve heard some people comment that the seven countries were chosen because their governments are either in shambles, or state sponsors of terror. That doesn’t explain why Afghanistan isn’t on the list — its government is no more well-organized than Iraq’s. It also doesn’t explain the absence of Pakistan, whose government has repeatedly been shown to have been infiltrated by extremist elements, even in their security service, the ISI. It also doesn’t explain why Palestinians using PA-issued passports, or temporary Jordanian passports aren’t banned. Any Israeli would tell you that a ban that doesn’t target those passports is not a good one.

The second reason I dislike Trump’s executive order is because it’s incredibly heavy-handed. In an attempt to not actually make it a “Muslim ban” in word, he made it a clumsy Muslim ban in practice. By banning all visa holders from those seven countries from entering the US, Trump managed to hurt Persian Jews, Yazidi Christians, Kurds, and Sudanese Christians, none of whom are, or have ever been a threat to the US. Rather than exempting them from the ban, Trump made it a blanket ban to avoid a court ruling the ban was illegal because it specifically targeted Muslims. We needed a surgeon, we got a butcher.

When you combine those fundamental weaknesses of the executive order with the fact that it was poorly rolled-out, rushed, and that the details of it were vague and not double-checked with the agencies who were supposed to enforce it, it’s an abject failure.

The central premise of the ban is also questionable. Will it make America safer? That’s not terribly clear. It most certainly will make Americans traveling abroad less safe. They’ll be even bigger targets now. ISIS is already using it as a recruitment tool. But will it even make us safer at home? Most of our Muslim terrorists in the past decade have been American citizens, who wouldn’t have been affected by the ban. The ban also likely increases the chances that one of the 3.3 million Muslims already in America will become radicalized, or that a non-Muslim who converts will become radicalized. Does that make us safer?

Vetting is important. Security is important. No one disagrees with that, but it needs to be done well. It needs to be done intelligently. This ban is neither intelligent, nor well implemented, and in that respect, it’s a clear failure.

Even if you support a blanket ban, you should be asking Trump to add Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Chechnya and Turkey to the list. If he doesn’t, you know he actually doesn’t care.


Jonathan Maseng’s work has appeared in LA Weekly, The Press Enterprise, The Jewish Journal, and the Jerusalem Post Magazine. He also writes regularly about the New York Mets for SB Nation’s Amazin’ Avenue.

Terrorist attacks doubled in Jerusalem in September, Israel says


Terrorist attacks in Jerusalem doubled last month compared to August, according to Israel’s security agency, the Shin Bet.

There were 26 attacks in the capital in September, compared to 13 in August, the Shin Bet wrote in its monthly report for September published this week. The number of attacks perpetrated against Israelis in the West Bank remained unchanged at 78.

With the increase in Jerusalem, the total number of attacks against Israelis in September rose to 109, constituting a 17 percent increase over the 93 attacks recorded in August. The August figure was the lowest monthly tally recorded since March 2015 and the first dip since then below the 100-incident mark.

Ten Israelis were wounded in the September attacks, compared to seven in August. September saw no Israeli fatalities from attacks.

More than half of the attacks in September involved the hurling of firebombs.

Despite the increase in attacks in Jerusalem, the September tally was 47 percent lower than the average number of attacks carried out there per month since September 2015.

According to the Palestinian Maan news agency, a total of 274 individuals died during the wave of unrest starting from Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 30 of this year, including 235 Palestinians, many of whom were killed while perpetrating attacks. During that period, attacks caused the death of 34 Israelis and five foreign nationals — two Americans, one Eritrean, one Sudanese, and one Jordanian.

On Thursday, Israeli troops in the West Bank shot dead a Palestinian teenager who hurled rocks at a patrol, the Israel Defense Forces said. The incident occurred in the Beit Ummar area near the city of Hebron, a flashpoint for terrorist attacks. The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the slain Palestinian as 15-year-old Khaled Bahar.

Earlier that day, a Palestinian man died from injuries he sustained in 2007 in clashes with Israeli troops, Maan reported. The Makassed hospital announced the death of Mahmoud Jawda, who had been treated at the Jerusalem medical center ever since he was shot multiple times by Israeli troops in Ramallah.

Lessons from San Bernardino at ADL security briefing


Dec. 2, 2015 was an average day for San Bernardino Police Lt. Mike Madden — until it wasn’t.

On his way back to headquarters from a meeting, he pulled over to pick up a snack wrap from McDonald’s and then again to take a phone call. Then, at 10:58 a.m., the dispatch came in: shots fired at the Inland Regional Center, a county building just north of the I-10 Freeway. 

Madden spends most of his days behind a desk as an administrator. He was hardly the ideal choice to be the first person on the scene of a terrorist attack.

“The biggest dangers that I have on a daily basis are generally paper cuts,” he told dozens of lay leaders, security professionals and clergy members who gathered on Aug. 23 at the Westwood office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Madden’s experience offered one of many lessons from the ADL’s annual security briefing this year: When police respond to an active shooter situation, it likely won’t be a specially trained operative who shows up first.

“It’s going to be some stupid lieutenant who almost stapled his fingers together,” Madden said. “It’s going to be a homicide detective who hasn’t been on patrol for seven years.”

This year, the ADL brought Madden and San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan to share experiences gleaned from the terrorist attack that claimed 14 lives at a county government building there and brought the threat of terrorism home to Southern California.

The two police officials shared lessons Jewish institutions hopefully will never make use of, but might one day have to, and afforded Jewish professionals an inside look at what unfolded the day of the attack. 

Burguan played a 911 call from a man who had spotted a suspicious black SUV leaving the Inland Regional Center. Arriving home, the man saw news of the shooting and phoned in, reciting the license plate number from memory: X523RY. For law enforcement, it was a lucky break.

“I’ve been a cop for 20 years,” the police chief said. “I couldn’t tell you a single license plate for any car parked outside.”

The police were able to trace the number to an Enterprise Rent-a-Car lot that had rented a black SUV to Syed Farook, who, with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, committed  the shootings.

The San Bernardino tragedy was an outlier, but hardly an isolated event. Last year saw an increase in so-called targets of convenience — low-profile, random targets, often chosen to evade law enforcement and increase casualties, according to Joanna Mendelson, an investigative researcher with ADL’s Center on Extremism who introduced the two men at the August event. Overall, 2015 saw more terrorist-related arrests — 82 — than any previous year, she said.

The ADL, a hate-speech watchdog, pays close attention to terrorist attacks since they are “hate crime writ large,” Amanda Susskind, the organization’s regional director here, said at the event.

The annual briefing, held in advance of the High Holy Days, deals with timely topics in security, part of an ongoing effort by the ADL to provide police and Jewish institutions a means to protect the local community from hate-related threats.

In May, for instance, the ADL gathered 400 law enforcement officers at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs campus to glean lessons from the ideologically motivated attacks over the previous year, including the one in San Bernardino. Two months earlier, it awarded its annual Sherwood Prize, honoring law officers who go beyond the call of duty, to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, along with the 13 other agencies that first responded to the December attack.

In its online security manual “Protecting Your Jewish Institution,” the ADL suggests that synagogues, schools and nonprofits cultivate close police relationships, as well. Last updated in 2015, the manual encourages Jewish institutions to proactively develop attack response plans that involve the community in their own protection. It includes a section on security preparations for the High Holy Days.

After all, one of the lessons from last year’s tragedy in Southern California is that nobody should consider themselves immune from the threat of terrorism, Burguan said at the event.

“I’m here to tell you: If it can happen in San Bernardino, it really can happen absolutely anywhere.”

Guns, drugs and maybe Islamists: Brazil tightens border before Games


On a chilly morning, with a breeze blowing in from Paraguay, customs officials occasionally stop and search vehicles crossing Brazil's busiest border point, looking for contraband. 

Most passengers are poor Brazilians, carrying electronics they were commissioned to buy duty-free over the river in Paraguay's Ciudad del Este, but there is a more dangerous trade too.

“It's not unusual to find drugs or arms,” said Leonardo, a tall Brazilian customs official with a few day's stubble who has been working the bridge for two years. “You start to get an eye for it,” he said, watching cars crawl across the open border.

With just days to go before the Olympics start in Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian security forces have shifted their gaze to an even more amorphous crime: terrorism.

They have increased checks at this border post – where tens of thousands of people cross back and forth every day – and have set up a control room with access to dozens of cameras watching different points of the frontier.

Intelligence officials have long pointed to this border region, home to a sizable Muslim community, as a weak point in Brazilian security. 

With an estimated 500,000 foreigners descending on Rio for the Olympics and recent attacks on European cities raising security concerns, the daunting task of monitoring and controlling the border area between Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina has come back into focus. 

Last month, Brazilian authorities arrested 12 people on suspicion of supporting Islamic State and discussing an attack during the Games. 

It was the first time the government has admitted potential terrorist activity within its borders.

Police say they are monitoring a further 100 people with possible links to Islamic extremism, most of them here in the tri-border area, or TBA as it is known in security circles. 

The point where Foz do Iguaçu in Brazil, Ciudad del Este in Paraguay and Puerto Iguazu in Argentina meet, is a popular tourist spot to access the thundering Iguazu Falls. It is also a major smuggling route. 

In the labyrinth of market stalls lining the feet of high-rise shopping malls, where hookah smoke fuses with the smell of new sneakers and money changers swap wads of currency beside men offering guns for sale, the imagination can run riot.

The reality, however, is hard to pin down. 

The only clear link between the 12 plotters arrested and this area is an alleged attempt by one of the group to buy an AK-47 rifle online from a shop in Ciudad del Este. Given the ease of acquiring weapons in Brazil's major cities, the connection was dismissed by many as a greater sign of the group's amateurism than the dangers of the tri-border area. 

But police sources on the border admit the region is fertile ground for extremist movements.

“There's no doubt the situation suits a would-be terrorist,” one police source told Reuters. “Criminal activity, the flow of people, guns, and a well-established but closed Muslim community are all here.”

'OFFICIALLY, NO TERRORISM'

Concern over the area as a potential fund-raising and access point for militants started after intelligence agencies traced attacks in Buenos Aires on the Israeli embassy in 1992 and the AMIAJewish community center in 1994 back to the region.

Those attacks, which killed 114 people, were blamed on the Lebanese militant political group Hezbollah. 

U.S. intelligence officials drew links to the sizable Lebanese community in the tri-border area and money raised from certain shopping malls in Ciudad del Este.

Diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks from that period showed U.S. frustration. 

“Officially, Brazil does not have terrorism inside its border,” read a message sent in October 2009 from the U.S. embassy in Brasilia. “In reality, several Islamic groups with known or suspected ties to extremist organizations have branches in Brazil and are suspected of carrying out financing activities.”

Another cable, from January 2008, said Brazil “remains highly sensitive” to claims “the TBA is a hotbed of terrorist activity.”

Such sensitivity appears to have been based on a desire not to hurt tourism in the region and a fear of stigmatizing Brazil's Muslim community of about 1 million people, mainly in Sao Paulo, Foz do Iguaçu and the southern city of Curitiba.

The arrests in the run up to the Olympics, all carried out under a new anti-terrorism law passed in March, mark a significant shift in Brazil's approach.

“The law facilitates greatly the sharing of information between police and intelligence services of different countries,” said Marcos Josegrei da Silva, the judge overseeing the investigation.

The prosecutor in the case, Rafael Brum Miron, summed it up even more simply: “If I'd had the same evidence six months ago, I would not have been able to do anything.”

Abdo Nasser Elkhatib, the imam of Foz do Iguaçu's bright white mosque, also stressed cooperation and integration, saying he would alert the police if he suspected a member of his congregation of extremism. 

But at the bridge, or on the river below, it is a different story. Logistical difficulties, corruption and a lack of resources compromise efforts to improve security.

10 MINUTE WALK TO HARDSHIP

Paraguay is a tricky neighbor. South America's second poorest country behind Bolivia, legal and illegal commerce with Brazil is the lifeblood of Ciudad del Este. 

Attempts to increase security by checking more people and cargo would slow the flow of goods and sound a death knell for Paraguay's eastern border zone. 

Despite being a 10 minute walk from Brazil, Ciudad del Este is considered a hardship posting for Brazilian diplomats. Its manic streets can feel lawless despite a heavy police presence. 

On one visit, a fight broke out between motorbike taxi riders, who swarm on yellow bikes across the bridge like bees. One rider ripped off his helmet and smashed it repeatedly over the other's helmeted head. Police and passersby watched with drowsy curiosity. 

“It's very difficult to manage the border,” said Angel Ibarra Mendoza, head of migration on the Paraguayan side, struggling to open his eyes as he walked out of the dark, sleepy migration office. 

He pointed to a new white truck sitting idle in a parking spot. “That's to help us with security for the Olympics.”

Brazilian officers are quick in private to discuss their own flaws. The federal police in Foz have put their own mayor under house arrest on charges of embezzling public funds.

Beyond corruption, there's the problem of resources. 

Out on patrol with the police in a seized smuggling boat, officers point at clandestine ports that line the Parana River. Wearing bullet-resistant vests against the occasional gunfire that comes from Paraguay, they motor past poor communities set along the river's edge where smuggling has been the livelihood for generations. 

“We'd need 10 times the personnel to really be able to police this border,” one officer says.

Israel has had success against ‘lone wolf’ terrorists — here’s how


“Lone wolf” terrorism in Europe is making headlines around the world. But in Israel, the phenomenon of angry or troubled individuals taking up arms is old news.

Since October, Israelis have endured a wave of violence that has been carried out largely by individual Palestinians without backing from terrorist groups — so much so that some have called this the “lone wolf intifada.”

As of the end of June, 38 people had been killed and 298 injured by attackers, according to the Shin Bet security service.

Yet the violence appears to be winding down, at least for now. In October, when the wave of violence is said to have started, the number of attacks against Israelis spiked to 620. In June, there were 103 attacks, lower than in September, before the wave of violence began.

A large majority of the attacks — some 1,500 out of 2,000 — were in the West Bank, where the Israel Defense Forces is responsible for protecting Israelis. Here are five key methods the army used to turn the tide of violence.

Keep the terrorist groups out of it

The wave of violence may be considered a lone wolf intifada, but that’s because the army has put a lid on the terrorist groups, a senior IDF officer told reporters during a briefing this week. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nature of his job.

Since the second intifada, the last major Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s, the Israeli army has managed to largely dismantle the networks run by Hamas and other terrorist groups in the West Bank, according to Shlomo Brom, a retired brigadier general and an analyst at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies think tank. 

“Basically the terror networks are dismantled, and basically the security forces are dealing with maintenance,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean terrorist groups have stopped trying to launch attacks against Israelis. In the past three months, the army has thwarted dozens of attempted attacks by Hamas alone in what the senior official called the “old war” against organized terror. 

“We’re still having day-to-day indications of them trying to find people in the West Bank, fund them, give them weapons, give them explosives and tell them to shoot Jews,” he said. “This hasn’t changed.”

Predict the unpredictable

A new war is being waged against the lone wolves. Their attacks started last fall in Jerusalem, sparked by Palestinian fears of Jewish encroachment on the Temple Mount. But the center of the lone wolf intifada quickly shifted to the West Bank city of Hebron, with attacks on soldiers and settlers in the area, as well as across Israel.

Around that time, at the end of last year, the army began building a system to deal with the new threat that was emerging, the senior officer said. The goal was to predict the unpredictable: when, for example, a particular Palestinian youth might grab a knife from his mom’s kitchen and take to the streets to spill Israeli blood. Motives can range from nationalism to family problems, he said.

“Unlike terrorists who belong to Hamas or the Islamic Jihad, if you get to their house the week before the attack, the kid doesn’t know that he’s a terrorist yet,” the senior officer said. “So that’s the main challenge.”

Based on what was known about previous attackers, the army created an alert system that is constantly being tweaked. These days, army analysts feed huge amounts of intelligence information into that system — a combination of “social media, human intelligence, signal intelligence,” according to the senior officer, who declined to provide further details about intelligence gathering. In return, he said, the system produces a small number of alerts about potential future attacks.

“One of the ways you produce an alert is, what are the last actions that a specific individual did,” the senior officer said. “For example, if he’s exposed to incitement and right afterwards he rents a car, maybe an unregistered car, this raises questions.”

In response to an alert, options include arresting a suspect, monitoring his or her actions, intervening through the family or deploying troops to a potential target area. When attackers are arrested or killed without managing to cause carnage, future attackers are thought to be deterred.

“The attacks are decreasing because of their ineffectiveness, because most of them fail,” said Brom, the Institute for National Security Studies analyst. “There is a limit to the number of even frustrated young people who are willing to give their life and to achieve nothing. So it makes sense that over time, the numbers of attacks are fewer and fewer.”

Go after the inciters

Incitement to violence can occur in person, through traditional media or over social media. Hamas is responsible for a large portion of the incitement of Palestinians against Israel, the senior officer said.

“They create some of the memes of the high-level incitement, or the incitement which is very powerful that you see on the web,” he said. “So when you handle most of the Hamas incitement, or when you stop some of the incitement from getting to social media, you also have less incitement by private people that are just sharing a specific post or adding incitement.”

Get guns off the streets 

Despite Israel’s control of the West Bank’s borders, weapons manufacturing in the territory has “increased drastically” in the past couple years, according to the senior officer. He estimated there are hundreds of production centers there.

In recent months, he said, the army has launched an organized crackdown, including closing some 20 locations producing homemade Carl Gustav submachine guns, or “Carlos,” like those used last month by two Hebron-area cousins in a deadly shooting at the upscale Sarona market in Tel Aviv.

“They paid for their suits more than they paid for the weapons,” the officer said of the Sarona shooters, who wore dress suits during the attack. “And our logic is very simple … If not everyone can get a weapon with 2,000 shekels [about $500], the price will go up and they’ll have to make all sorts of arrangements and meet more and more people in order to get the weapon they want, we will see fewer attacks with weapons because people will make more mistakes.”

Israeli soldiers guarding the home where Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, was stabbed and killed in a terror attack in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba, in the West Bank on June 30, 2016. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Limit blowback

At the same time, the army tries to minimize its footprint on Palestinian society. That starts with trying to arrest rather than kill attackers and would-be attackers, the senior officer said.

According to Brom, the army also pushes to limit collective punishment, like the withholding of taxes that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the West Bank, or revoking permits to work in or visit Israel.

“The more you can separate between the public from the perpetrators, the better,” he said.

When the army does implement measures with punitive effects, like refusing to return the bodies of Palestinians killed during attacks or destroying attackers’ homes, it aims only to target the attackers’ supporters, according to Brom.

Col. Ido Mizrachi, the head of engineering in the Central Command, which is responsible for the West Bank, acknowledged in another briefing with reporters that demolishing Palestinian homes causes resentment, but said he thinks the deterrent effect is stronger. To maintain that balance, he said, his engineers work quickly and use techniques to ensure that surrounding homes, or even adjoining apartments, are not damaged.

While the senior officer downplayed the Palestinian Authority’s security cooperation with Israel, Brom said the partnership is one of the main factors that enables the army to limit wider tensions.

“If the Palestinian Authority stopped cooperating, the Israeli security services would be in a situation in which they would have to do themselves what the Palestinian Authority is doing,” he said. “The problem is, that would create much more friction with population at large. And more friction with population at large means more motivation for more youngsters to join terrorist groups.”

Overall, the army believes this combination of tactics has helped to change the mentality of Palestinians in the West Bank, reducing the number of people willing to risk their lives to attack Israelis.

“We saw more and more people not becoming pro-Israeli or pro-Zionist, but understanding that they don’t achieve anything from this escalation, that it hurts them economically, that it doesn’t help the life conditions, that it doesn’t achieve anything on the national level,” the senior officer said.

For Jews of Nice, terrorist attack came as no surprise


To the millions of tourists who visit Nice annually, the city in southeast France is an ultimate holiday destination that offers inviting beaches and luxury casinos, stunning architecture and world-class museums.

Sandwiched between the Maritime Alps and the Mediterranean Sea, Nice is France’s largest tourist destination after Paris, with 5 million arrivals each year and the country’s second largest domestic airport. Nice sees $1.6 billion in annual tourism revenue — 40 percent from its region known locally as Côte d’Azur and abroad as the French Riviera.

But Nice has a dark side, as demonstrated in the terrorist attack of July 14, when a Muslim extremist killed 84 people on the Promenade des Anglais by plowing his truck through the crowds gathered for a fireworks show on France’s national holiday, Bastille Day. After the attack, thousands of tourists checked out hurriedly from hotels that had not had occupancy issues in years.

The attack came as no surprise to many locals, including many of the city’s 20,000 Jews, who for years have been the targets of anti-Semitic attacks and harassment by members of a growing minority of fundamentalists from within the city’s large Muslim population.

“The only Jews you see walking around with a kippah are the foreign tourists,” said Chalom Yaich, a caretaker at the Michelet Jewish community center and synagogue. One of Nice’s dozen-odd shuls, Michelet is located next to a car repair shop at the northern downtown area about a mile and a half from the glitzier beachfront area.

“We locals have stopped wearing it years ago or covered it with a hat for safety,” said Yaich, 53.

He was considering immigrating to Israel before the attack, he said, and is even more inclined to do so now.

“Many have left already because Nice is especially affected by France’s problem with Islam,” Yaich said, noting that its young Jews are especially prone to leave, either for Paris or Israel.

“We have an aging local population with an average age of 50 or 60,” he said.

Nice has at least 60,000 Muslims, or 17 percent of the city’s population, according to estimates published in Le Monde, compared to a national average of about 8 percent of the population. Indeed, more than a third of those killed in the attack were Muslim, the head of a regional Islamic association told The New York Times. Other estimates say 30 to 40 percent of the city’s population is Muslim.

One Jew, Reymonde Mammane, was killed in the attack.

The attacker, who was shot dead by police while carrying out the rampage, was identified as a Tunisian immigrant, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel. Although Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, 31, was a petty criminal with no known links to terrorism and little apparent interest in religion, the Islamic State terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which French police believe involved several accomplices.

Local Muslim leaders denounced the attacks and organized a blood drive for survivors, saying the attacker was hardly representative of their community. Yet several other terrorist cells have emerged from the community in recent years.

In February, a Muslim man with suspected terrorist ties stabbed three soldiers outside a Jewish community center in Nice. Like other Jewish potential targets throughout France, the center has been under armed guard since January 2015, when four Jews were killed by an Islamist at a kosher supermarket near Paris. The following month, Nice police raided several homes of alleged Islamist terrorists who were “in advanced stages” of preparing an attack, prosecutors said at the time.

In recent years, Nice was among the five most troublesome areas listed in the annual report of the Paris-based SPCJ, a watchdog group on anti-Semitism, with an average tally of 15 to 20 violent incidents per year.

In relative terms, Jews in Nice are twice as likely to experience such an attack than their coreligionists in Marseille, a nearby city with 220,000 Muslims and 80,000 Jews that sees approximately 25 to 35 physical anti-Semitic attacks annually, according to SPCJ.

The difference is felt on the ground, according to Yves Kugelmann, the Swiss editor-in-chief of the Tachles Jewish weekly, who is among hundreds of non-French Jews with pieds-à-terre in and around Nice.

“There is more tension and apprehension in Nice than in Marseille, where even despite all the trouble we’ve seen in recent years, you still also have cafes with a mixed clientele of Jews of North African descent and Muslims from the same place,” said Kugelmann, who was in Nice when the attack happened.

“It didn’t fundamentally change things for the local Jewish population because, firstly, in France today terrorist attacks are no longer surprising,” he said, “and secondly because it wasn’t aimed at Jews.” Hours after the attack, Yossef Yitschok Pinson, the rabbi of Nice’s Chabad House, told JTA that synagogue services and community events would go on as planned in Nice.

Amid growing concern about Islamism, Nice has become a bastion for the French far right, where Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, a niece of party leader Marine Le Pen, garnered a whopping 34 percent of the vote in the second round of voting in the 2015 regional elections, losing by fewer than 10 points to another right-wing candidate, former Mayor Christian Estrosi.

In Nice, the French Jews live among Arabs in and around the city center, between the Jean-Medecin neighborhood and Gambetta. And while this creates more familiarity than in other French cities with Muslim and Jewish enclaves, it also generates more friction than in Marseille, where Jews and Arabs interact but live mostly apart as a result of Jewish migration to the suburbs in recent decades.

Many Jews also live in the affluent towns around Nice and in pricey villas atop the lush cliffs overlooking the Nice Cape east of the city, not far from the borders of the Principality of Monaco, located approximately eight miles from the city. And while they will sometimes attend services at the Chabad synagogue or the Ashkenazi shul, “they are not exactly the synagogue crowd,” Kugelmann said.

Traditionally a cosmopolitan and tolerant port city near the Italian border, Nice has had a Jewish presence since at least the 12th century, according to Leon Alhadeff of Sefarad, a French organization promoting Sephardic culture.

“It drew them because it was a crossroads of cultures,” he wrote on the Sefard website.

Ironically, perhaps, it is now drawing Islamists for the same reasons, according to Philippe Granarolo, a writer and historian who wrote about the truck attack in the Le Figaro newspaper.

The city was targeted, he wrote, because Nice, “by far the best-known French destination in the world after Paris, for over a century has symbolized France’s touristic appeal; Mediterranean culture and openness to the other banks of” the Mediterranean Sea.

What can France learn from Israel?


This article originally appeared on The Media Line.

As France mourned the 84 dead and more than 200 wounded in the attack in Nice, an alert security guard in Jerusalem foiled a potential attack on Jerusalem’s light rail train, when he spotted a suspicious man loitering near the train stop, and demanded he open his knapsack. When the man refused, the security guard arrested him, and found three pipe bombs inside.

It was yet another example of Israel’s success in stopping terrorist attacks, and minimizing casualties when they do occur.

Vehicular attacks, like the one perpetrated in Nice, have been a fixture in Jerusalem and the West Bank for years. In 2014 a Palestinian rammed his car into a light rail stop in Jerusalem, killing a three-month old baby and a young Ecuadoran woman. Just weeks ago, a similar attack in the West Bank wounded three soldiers.

“Israel has been proven as the model of imitation for other terrorists around the world,” Boaz Ganor, the Executive Director of the Institute for Counter-terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) of Herzylia, told the Media Line. “There is a difference between prevention of terrorist attacks and limiting the consequences.”

Preventing terror attacks depends on prior intelligence – a challenge when terrorists act alone.

“The problem with (this kind of ) intelligence is that the initiation, the planning and the execution start and end with the sick mind of one person,” Ganor said. “In these cases traditional intelligence is useless.”

However, he said, counter-terrorism in these cases must focus more on social media. Terrorists often post their intentions. Reports in the British press say that the attacker in Nice posted “I have the material” hours before the bombing. He also reportedly sent over $100,000 to his family in Tunisia just days before the attack.

Another difference between Israel and France is that Israelis are constantly aware of the possibility of terrorism. Anyone who has left a bag or a backpack unattended knows that often within seconds people will ask, “Who does this bag belong to?” Many Israeli civilians have also served in the army, meaning they have had military training, and many carry personal weapons for protection.

All of that together makes it likely that an attacker would not have been able to drive into people for more than a mile without being stopped.

Other Israeli analysts say that a similar attack could happen in Israel, although it is less likely than in France.

“The truck was very big and the protection and security in France was very poor,” Reuven Ehrlich, a terrorism expert at the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center told The Media Line. “The combination between a big truck, a terrorist who is ready to be killed in such an attack, and a lot of people without any protection caused a mass killing.”

When stopped, the attacker said he was carrying ice cream, but he was never asked to open the back of the truck. In addition, press reports say there were only 105 policemen responsible for the security of 30,000 people at the Bastille Day event.

France also has a large number of fighters who have returned from Syria, who have been radicalized to carry out attacks. Israeli terrorism experts say that France must move quickly to secure events with a much larger police presence. But it is the public that can offer the most security.

“The Israeli public is aware of its surroundings and of suspicious cars and behavior,” Boaz Ganor said. “A truck like this in a crowded place would raise people’s suspicions. A lot can be done to educate Europeans about preventing terrorism.”

The Institute he heads is currently holding a three-week intensive course in counter-terrorism for professionals from around the world.