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Posts Tagged ‘Homeland Security’

Earn an MA in Homeland Security, Counter-Terrorism, Diplomacy and Government

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

Besides swiftly becoming one of Israel’s leading academic institutions, the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzliya has also become a beacon thanks to the iconic annual Herzliya Conference – organized by the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS), and the IDC’s International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) – a joint forum that organizes seminars, workshops and forums for policy makers from all over the world. Alongside its program in Political Psychology and Decision Making (POPDM) and the workshop series on “Improving Public Policy in Israel” – these represent the core within the IDC’s prestigious MA Program in Government. This is where the next generation of Israeli and global leaders, scholars and educators are being educated.

Students at the program study with leading lecturers in the field and gain an all-encompassing introduction to the State of Israel. Theofani Tzakiri from Greece is a Merit Scholarship student. In addition to learning key theories, models, and concepts in government, she receives the analytical and practical tools needed to conduct policy-relevant research and deal with policy dilemmas, challenges and problems. “Studying at IDC is a lifetime experience,” she says. “The cultural and social student mix creates a beautiful and fascinating background that needs to be experienced; and the warm and welcoming environment provides a home where I can study and work peacefully to acquire the knowledge and skills I need to focus on issues of international concern.”

Many of IDC’s graduates have found positions at the UN, in Israeli government offices, international security consultancies and NGOs, or have continued to prestigious PhD programs abroad. Students network with leaders, policymakers and colleagues from dozens of countries around the world. They meet with heads of state, foreign ministers, negotiators, journalists, and others. And they even go on field trips to peace-keeping forces in the region (UNDOF, UNIFIL), and visit NATO headquarters in Brussels. The IDC’s prize-winning debate club, college-associated public advocacy groups and the development of entrepreneurial skills are amongst the many extracurricular activities that nurture leadership.

Eric Schorr

Eric Schorr


Eric Schorr was a member of the 2013 IDC Hult Prize team that participated in the Semi-Final Competition in London; he is currently working at the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response in Jerusalem. “I’ve been passionate about counter-terrorism for most of my adult life,” he says. What I loved most at IDC was how the professors, research, and projects we did highlighted aspects of the subject I had never thought about before. It’s a truly unique program in terms of graduate studies.”

When IDC’s founders established Israel’s first private university, their goal was to create an institution where personal achievement is fostered alongside social responsibility, and where academics are studied alongside practical, hands-on training and experience. Thus, IDC’s involvement with the community, as well as its interaction with the myriad of enterprises located in the nearby Herzliya Industrial zone have become a model now emulated in many other institutions.

Ayal Feinberg

Ayal Feinberg


Diplomacy MA student, Ayal Feinberg – a Trinity College graduate, believes that “the single greatest feature of IDC-Herzliya is its people. The classroom environment, created by a combination of remarkable faculty and eager students, allows for unparalleled intellectual growth. Whether pursuing a degree with the goal of becoming a practitioner or continuing on to academia, you will leave IDC with all the tools necessary to be a success.”

For more information, visit the IDC-Herzliya website.

 

 

Jewish Institutions Awarded $9 million in Federal Security Grants

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Approximately 90 percent of the $10 million in funding for non-profit organizations announced by the Department of Homeland Security to help nonprofit organizations protect themselves from terrorism went to Jewish institutions this year.

The total amount of grants, announced Aug. 29, is slightly up from last year’s $9.7 million, while the total Preparedness Grant Program budget for this year amounts to $968 million.

“The Department of Homeland Security has demonstrated a great commitment to protecting at-risk communities,” said Michael Siegal, chair of the Jewish Federations of North America’s board of trustees.

The Jewish Federations of North America and the Orthodox Union were instrumental in making sure the Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant program was continued.

Since Congress established the program in 2005, a total of $138 million has been distributed across the country to help at-risk nonprofits acquire and install physical security enhancements and undertake preparedness training, the JFNA announced.

“Since September 11, nonprofits generally, and Jewish communal institutions specifically, have been the victim of an alarming number of threats and attacks,” said William C. Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of the Washington office of Jewish Federations.

One Boston Marathon Suspects Killed, Another Apprehended

Friday, April 19th, 2013

UPDATES BELOW

This article is being updated in realtime as information becomes available. 

Overview:

An MIT campus police officer was shot multiple times and killed on Thursday night. The shooting occurred around 10:30PM near Vasser and Main street (The Stata Building #32). The officer was taken to Massachusetts General, where he died of his wounds.

At 1:15 AM Boston time, there was an additional report of a carjacking, gunfire, and explosions, including grenades in Watertown, Boston. It is not clear if the two events are related.

Homeland security vehicles and heavily armed security personnel are in Watertown, according to  The Boston Channel.

Police are asking all people near MIT to stay indoors.

Police are currently searching for suspects. Police stay there are undetonated explosives in the area. They’ve asked people in the area  to turn off their cellphones due to fear of cellphone connected bombs.

Police are chasing after Mercedes SUV.

 

Updates: (Latest first)

8:24 AM Boston time - Dr. David Shoenfeld, a surgeon from Watertown went to Beth Israel hospital in early morning after hearing the shooting, and ended up as the doctor who treated the suspected terrorist who died. Suspects brother also ran him over.

8:11 AM Boston time – Suspects also have an older sister and brother.

8:01 AM Boston time Search may take hours. Entire city of Boston has been asked to stay indoors. Manhunt expanding.

7:52 AM Boston time Marathon bombers are believed to have arrived in the US with their family in 2002-2003

7:52 AM Boston time First suspect is ID’ed as Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 22 (dead)

7:40 AM Boston time - Suspects may be brothers.

7:28 AM Boston time – Suspects lived in Turkey and Kazakhstan before coming to US.

7:06 AM Boston time - Police say Suspects had paramilitary training.

 6:50 AM Boston time - AP reports that the name of second suspect identified as “Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev”, a  19 year old foreign national living in Cambridge, possibly from Chechnya.

5:55 AM Boston time - Police leaving the house.

5:54 AM Boston time - Police entering home on Dexter Street with guns drawn, when no response received in door to door search.

5:49 AM Boston time - Boston police lock down towns around Watertown. All business are to remain closed while manhunt for Suspect #2 continues.

5:45 AM Boston time - Boston public transit has been shut down as a safety measure.

5:37 AM Boston time - Watertown residents still locked down as police look for suspect #2

 4:17 AM Boston time - Live police conference reviewing the events of the evening. One policeman was seriously injured in the earlier shootout. Police warn residents to not open doors, and drivers to not let anyone into their cars.

4:04 AM Boston time - Boston Police Commissioner confirms that Boston Marathon Suspect #1 is Dead. Search is on for Suspect #2.

 3:59 AM Boston time - Boston TV reports that Marathon Suspect #1 is dead and suspect #2 is still at large.

3:58 AM Boston time - Police will be doing a series of controlled explosions. Air horn will blow before explosion to prepare residents.

3:04 AM Boston time - Unofficially police have told pedestrians in Watertown that there are  “explosive everywhere” including grenades.

3:02 AM Boston time - Police confirm that only 1 suspect is in custody in Watertown. They are examining connection to Marathon bombing.

2:57 AM Boston time - Police confirm that MIT and Watertown events are connected.

2:49 AM Boston time - Boston Globe says one Boston Marathon suspect is now in custody. Twitter feeds saying second suspect also captured. This has not yet been confirmed by the FBI or the police.

2:21 AM Boston time - Police still searching in Watertown, but the event seems to be winding down.

2:15 AM Boston time - Watertown residents still told to stay indoors.

2:05 AM Boston time - MIT tells faculty/student body that the campus is now safe.

1:58 AM Boston time - 3rd suspect has been released and is not a suspect.

1:56 AM Boston time - Bomb disposal robot onsite in Watertown.

1:51 AM Boston time - Boston Channel in talking to residents report that police spoke with a person who had been in the carjacked vehicle and got away from the carjackers.

1:44 AM Boston time - Police are currently arresting third suspicious person right now in Watertown.

1:43 AM Boston time - Residents report seeing a lightly injured policeman taken away by ambulance. Police are doing searches in the area.

1:37 AM Boston time - Residents in Watertown hear explosion from a controlled explosion.

1:34 AM Boston time - Police are still looking for an “active shooter”, but it is not clear where.

1:30 AM Boston time: Unconfirmed reports are that police now have 2 suspects in custody in Watertown, but it is not known if they are connected to the MIT shooting. One suspect has been taken to a hospital.

 

 

 

 

State Says Terrorists Can’t Use Social Media – and You Can Help

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

The Office of the State Dept. Spokesperson responded to a question as to whether or not U.S. based social media companies, such as Facebook, violate sanctions if Foreign Terrorists Organizations (FTOs) agree to their company’s contractual agreement before establishing an account.

We received the question by email, along with the DOS answer.

The answer: “This is an issue governed by U.S. law, including laws that regulate interactions with designated entities. For example, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are prohibited from knowingly providing material support or resources to an entity that has been designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“Additionally, it is illegal for persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to engage in transactions with an entity that has been designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224.”

President Bush signed Executive Order 13224 on September 23, 2001. Executive Order 13224 gives the U.S. Government a powerful tool to impede terrorist funding and is part of our national commitment to lead the international effort to bring a halt to the evil of terrorist activity.

The assortment of Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN) lists is ginormous, but to make matters short, download the Complete Specially Designated Nationals List (in PDF format) and just find the first “Abu” (Abu Marzook, a Hamas official, in this case) and proceed from there to search for each name on, say, Facebook. Any active Facebook page run under one of the names on the U.S. ginormous list is grounds for a complaint with the operator and the Dept. of Homeland Security.

There’s a text only version as well.

There’s also SDN Search, an online application to search the SDN list.

Something nice to do with your free time on Chanukah.

Homeland Security Runs Threat Response Exercise with Jewish Leaders

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

About 50 high-ranking federal and state law enforcement officials met with an equal number of leading American Jewish officials for their first “table top” threat exercise.

The Joint Department of Homeland Security - American Jewish Community Table Top Exercise, held Wednesday at an unnamed location in Rosslyn, Va., was designed to identify gaps in information sharing, to share best practices and to push security concerns throughout the American Jewish community.

“This was not just another briefing,” Paul Goldenberg, national director of the Jewish Federations of North America’s Secure Community Network, told JTA. “This milestone event was to have the highest level national leaders together in a room for five hours with senior Jewish leaders so we know going out of that room what we need to know what to do to go forward.”

The program began with a current threat assessment by government officials and then simulated potential threats. It featured participants in an amphitheater-style room where they watched law enforcement coordinate responses to two particular scenarios: multiple attacks on Jewish communities throughout the Diaspora and then on Jewish institutions in the United States.

“I’ve got to tell you it didn’t take much prodding to get questions,” William Flynn, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Infrastructure Protection, United States Department of Homeland Security, told JTA. “This was a very engaged group and a very well-informed group that asked some very, very good and serious questions and posed some important issues.”

The Department of Homeland Security has helped coordinate security in recent months at the Maccabi Games in Houston, New York, and Memphis, Tenn., he added.

“This was an effort to pull it all together and take a look at the best practices that we’ve identified and any potential gaps that might be there, particularly in how we share information accurately and in actionable ways,” Flynn said.

Goldenberg added, “These leaders walked out saying, `I gotta go back to my constituents and my agencies and I now have a much better idea of what I need to do to secure my community because it’s not just securing a building, but a community. It’s not about panic and it’s not about fear. It’s about partnership” with law enforcement agencies.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, who participated in the exercise, said in a statement, “Our partnership with organizations and leaders of faith communities has helped, and continues to help, communities across the country prepare for threats that may originate either within our borders or abroad.”

Other participants included: Rand Beers, Undersecretary for the Department of Homeland Security, National Protection and Programs; Jerry Silverman, Jewish Federations of North America president and CEO; Malcolm Hoenlein, vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; and representatives from the FBI and the Department of State.

Too Many Degrees Of Separation

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

In my previous column I mentioned that a matchmaking initiative called the NASI Project was generating an avalanche of discussions, debates and disagreements regarding its value in effectively dealing with what is referred to in Orthodox communities as the shidduch crisis.  It seems that pro or con, no-one has a “parve” opinion about it merits or feasibility – but everyone agrees that there are too many older singles whose path to the chuppah is getting more arduous and out of reach.  For them and their hand -wringing parents, there are sleepless nights, despair and heartache.

I suggested another possible tool in helping the unmarried to change their status quo, and borrowed from an exhortation from America’s Homeland Security to ordinary folk – keep your eyes and ears open, and if you think you saw or heard something noteworthy, tell someone.  Anyone, young or old, single or married, who knows or is aware of someone single, should be part of a proactive process in setting that person up.

Even ten-year-old Malky in Brooklyn can tell her 23-year-old cousin in Chicago about her wonderful 21-year-old babysitter – and get the shidduch ball rolling.

Everyone can be a shadchan.   There have been numerous matches from shidduch suggestions that came from the most unlikely sources.

I know of a case where a quiet, middle-aged accountant happened to mention to his chavursah that his wife’s 24-year-old nephew was visiting from out of town.  His learning partner casually said that his neighbor had a daughter who was 23. They told their wives. The couple is now happily married with a baby.

In particular, married people can be an invaluable resource in getting people set up. One way is to invite singles in their community to a Shabbat meal, whether with both genders together or separately (if that is their haskafah), find out more about the individuals, and when at a gathering, like a tea, wedding, shiur, at the gym, or even at a poker or mah jong game, swap stories and network with their friends.

People across the frum spectrum bemoan what they feel is a dearth of “good” boys or girls.  But I strongly believe that is not the case, that there actually are plenty individuals of both genders to go out with. The reason it seems that there is a limited selection of worthy candidates to date is because the observant olam has created an enormous obstacle – one that has greatly hindered and horribly impacted this generation’s ability to get married.  I call this phenomenon: “too many degrees of separation.”

How many of us have made shidduch suggestions that we really felt, based on our knowledge of a particular boy or girl, had a lot of potential, only to be told by a parent or the single her/himself, that it wasn’t shayach – not appropriate or didn’t apply.  In a majority of cases, the suggestion was summarily turned down, due to what I view as very flimsy nuances of religiosity. Not too long ago, almost indiscernible “variances” in Yiddishkeit did not exist; they weren’t even blips on the “radar” when setting people up.  However, in today’s veldt, any gradation or hint of a difference can invalidate someone’s suitability.

Here are two true stories (with minor changes in the details) to illustrate this self-imposed degree of separation:

Mrs. A. calls Mrs. B. to suggest her sister’s daughter for Mrs. B’s son.  Mrs. A. herself has a daughter in the parsha, but the girl wants a long time learner and Mrs. B’s son learned in bais medrash for several years, but also earned credits for a college degree and makes a decent living.  While he goes to a pre-Shachris shiur and davens with a minyan and learns in the evening, he nonetheless is a “working boy” and not for her daughter.  Mrs. B. thanks Mrs. A. for thinking of her son for her niece, but shares that he is “busy” (currently seeing someone). However, she on the other hand knows an erliche boy for Mrs. A’s daughter; he is planning on learning indefinitely. She mentions the “Black Hat” yeshiva this fine young man attended. Mrs. A. immediately turns the offer down.  It’s not the “right” Black Hat yeshiva for her family and not shayach.

A girl, 27, is redt a shidduch.  She is a lovely young lady but tall and people are reluctant to set her up with boys she will tower over. A boy, who is 26 lives in a small but heimishe community and comes from a “nice” family known for their philanthropy and middos.  And he is tall.   He is willing to meet her even though she is “older.” She however, says no. Why?  In the photo she was shown of him, he was wearing a colored shirt (as opposed to a white one). She feels their “hashkafos” aren’t compatible.  He is too “modern.”

After Bomb Attempt, Jewish Institutions Reexamine Security

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010


Jewish institutions throughout the United States are reassessing their security following last Friday’s mail bombing attempt of two Jewish institutions in Chicago.

 

On Tuesday, some 200 representatives of Jewish community institutions took part in a conference call with FBI experts on security measures.

 

“The situation with bombs this weekend certainly reminded us that all our institutions can be vulnerable to threats of this type,” said Bonnie Michelman, the community security chairwoman of the Anti-Defamation League, which organized the call.

 

Michelman, the security director at Massachusetts General Hospital, went on to outline specific signs that people should look for to identify suspicious packages.

 

The FBI announced Tuesday that no synagogues exist at the addresses on the two bomb packages but urged the need for continued community vigilance.

 

“Terrorists will continue and diversify their attacks,” a representative from the FBI’s Washington field office said during the conference call.

 

Senior leadership from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were set to begin holding teleconferences on the same topic with senior Jewish organizational leaders across the country beginning Wednesday afternoon.

 

Security experts are still trying to determine the actual targets of the two explosive-packed printer cartridges intercepted last Friday. It was unclear whether they were meant for the planes carrying the packages or the Jewish institutions to which the packages were addressed. U.S. authorities have refused to confirm the identities of the institutions targeted.

 

One of the packages was intercepted in Dubai and another in London. Al Qaeda is believed to be behind the two bombs.

 

After the bombs were discovered, a Homeland Security team arrived Sunday in Chicago, according to Paul Goldenberg, national director of the Secure Community Network, the national agency for Jewish communal security. SCN operates under the auspices of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

 

The Homeland Security representatives are contacting Chicago Jewish institutions for security training in conjunction with the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. SCN will notify other communities in advance of the Homeland Security calls, which will extend through the week.

 

“They’re providing training and resources to ensure the community feels safe and has the tools it needs,” Goldenberg said.

 

Of particular concern in this case, Goldenberg noted, is that the package bombs were addressed to American Jewish institutions, indicating that terrorists are treating them as proxies for Israel and thus legitimate targets.

 

“We don’t know when the bombs were intended to go off, but the fact remains they were going after American Jews, not Israeli consulates,” he said. “They targeted American synagogues. That was the message.”

 

Last Friday, SCN sent out two e-mail notifications to its national network outlining how to handle suspicious packages and alerting people to key addresses and other signs of a potential terrorist mail threat. The Orthodox Union and Union for Reform Judaism, both members of the SCN network, also sent out security alerts to their member congregations.

 

The SCN notification advised Jewish organizations to watch for large packages, particularly coming from abroad.

 

“Organizations that believe they have received a suspicious package should not open it, [should] evacuate the area and call 911 immediately,” it said.

 

Steve Sheinberg, who oversees the ADL’s Jewish community security program, said now that the first wave of emergency information has gone out, it’s time to regroup and engage in a careful, ongoing reassessment of each institution’s security measures.

 

“Our security messages are very measured,” he said. “Our goal is to inform, not panic. There is no need for panic. This is an occasion to look at security measures in place, make adjustments as necessary and move forward.”

 

In Chicago, Jews are calm but wary following the bomb threat.

 

“The schools are all being very vigilant, without getting everyone nervous,” said Rolly Cohen, education director of the Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago. “They’re stepping things up a bit, making sure doors are locked, checking to see who’s there before opening them, putting security measures back in places they might have become more lax about.”

 

“The need to take security precautions is not new,” said JUF Executive Vice President Michael Kotzin, who praised national and local security agencies for their professionalism and alacrity in responding to this incident.

 

“This was a very traumatic example of that. There’s generally been a sense of calm, not fear and panic but a kind of resignation that we need to be alert – as Americans, and as Jews in particular.”

 

The Chicago federation and the ADL scheduled a security conference for Thursday in Chicago bringing together heads of local Jewish institutions with representatives of Homeland Security, the U.S. Postal Service and local law enforcement.

 

Comparing this week’s efforts to those following the shooting of six people at the Seattle Jewish federation three years ago, Goldenberg distinguished between the actions of “a lone wolf” like the Seattle shooter and the current situation.

 

“Now we are dealing with the potential of one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world targeting Jewish institutions,” he said.

 

Rabbi Asher Lopatin of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation, an Orthodox synagogue in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, said operations at his synagogue “continued as usual” last Shabbat, although security was enhanced and worshipers were instructed to be extra vigilant.

 

“We had a bar mitzvah and no one was afraid to come to shul. I think it even drummed up business – one man told me his wife said, ‘You have to go to shul,” Lopatin said.

 

“You think Chicago is under the radar screen, then you realize no one is immune if you are a part of a community,” the rabbi added.


(JTA)

 

             (For detailed information on recommended security precautions, visit www.scnus.org or www.adl.org/security. The Chicago Jewish News contributed to this report.)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/after-bomb-attempt-jewish-institutions-reexamine-security-2/2010/11/03/

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