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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘national security’

Knesset Committee Praises Israel’s Cyber Protection, But Raises Concerns

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (FADC) published a report on Monday praising measures put forth by the government in the field of cyber-security, a field in which Israel is considered to be a global leader. The committee suggested guidelines for the administration of the new authority responsible for Israel’s cyber-attack preparedness, but also expressed concerns that the new body, the National Cyber Authority, would not fit in well with the existing security agencies.

The committee’s concern was echoed by politicians. “The National Cyber Aythority and the security agencies are bodies with different interests and methods,” said MK Anat Berko of the Likud party. “This is why I am concerned about the need to divide responsibilities between them.”

“Since the National Cyber Authority is not a security agency, and includes civilian bodies as well, I am afaraid of the possibility of sensitive information leaking outside,” added Berko.

A subcommittee of the FADC focusing on cyber security has held a series of discussions over the past year with the goal of studying and overseeing improvement of defenses against cyber attacks and of examining the implications of the government’s decision to establish the National Cyber Authority as well as its implementation.

The new report summarizes the research conducted by the subcommittee and presents its conclusions on the optimal way to divide responsibility between the different bodies involved in cyber protection and on necessary further measures.

The report states that the cyber threat is a growing challenge to the State of Israel, but says that the government has recognized the threat in time and has started taking steps to prepare an adequate response.

The new authority will consider both security and political-diplomatic implications and will properly organize the gathering of information on cyber attacks against Israeli targets.

The authority will not gather intelligence independently, but will rely on the work of existing intelligence agencies. The Israeli security agencies will continue to be responsible for their own cyber protection and they will be the ones to actually collectthe information.

Finally, the subcommittee addressed the new cyber law being formulated and recommended that the law be written in cooperation with all relevant security and civilian bodies to ensure that it does not cause security risks and that it fits well into the Israeli cyber-security system.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Analysis: Trump Giving Israel a Bad Name with ‘Profiling’ Comment

Monday, June 20th, 2016

“I think profiling is something that we’re going to have to start thinking about as a country,” GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, using Israel as an example for a place where this method is flourishing and yielding results. “You look at Israel and you look at others, and they do it and they do it successfully. And you know, I hate the concept of profiling, but we have to start using common sense,” he said.

Sadly, as Israel is being drawn with increasing frequency into the US presidential elections, with the Democrats using the Israeli-Arab conflict as a battle field between the Sanders and Clinton proxies, bits of prejudice and misinformation about the life and politics of the Jewish State are coming to the fore and, more often than not, spreading more ignorance than knowledge about it.

Donald Trump’s cartoon depiction of Israel’s security forces’ strategies is a case in point. A few years ago, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was elected on a promise to do away with police racial profiling, because it perpetuated decades of abuse when African-Americans and Latinos would be routinely stopped and frisked by police. But predictive profiling, which takes into account multiple elements in an individual’s manner and appearance, is a crucial component of law enforcement work, and it’s much more complex than just skin color and religion.

Not according to the BBC, which informed its listeners on Sunday: “Profiling uses ethnicity, race and religion to determine whether a person has or is likely to commit crimes.”

And, sadly, this is probably what Trump meant when he shared with Face the Nation what he had taken from Israel’s security strategies. In a sense, Trump’s and the BBC’s notions of profiling come down to the store detective who spots a black person coming in and sticks to them expecting that they are more likely than others to shoplift.

If Israel’s security forces had used this yardstick in their approach to predictive profiling it would have choked not just its international airports, but traffic on the streets in many cities, too. If all you need to be in order to trigger security response is dark-skinned or Muslim, three-quarters of Israelis would spend their days and nights in police stations.

Chris Weller, who last year reported in Business Insider about his experience as a foreign, non-Jewish traveler at Ben Gurion airport, noted that “no flight leaving Ben Gurion has ever been hijacked, and the airline servicing Israel, El Al, hasn’t seen an attack in more than 30 years.” And yet, dozens of El Al and other flights leave Ben Gurion every day, and passenger traffic is brisk and efficient.

Israel employs, on the streets of its cities as well as in its airports, an intelligence driven system that relies on good communication, alert operatives, and multi-layered screening. Daniel Wagner, co-author of the book “Global Risk Agility and Decision Making,” cites Raphael Ron, a former director of security at Ben Gurion for 5 years, who said the passenger-oriented security system there is focused on the “human factor,” and is “based on the assumption that terrorist attacks are carried out by people who can be found and have been stopped through the use of this simple but effective security methodology.”

Unlike all US airports, departing passengers in Ben Gurion are not asked to take off their shoes during physical screening processes. Instead, passengers are interviewed by trained agents before they get to the check-in counter. So that the area in front of the check-in is not conceded to potential terrorists, as was the case recently in the Brussels airport attack. The interviews last one or two minutes for the most part, so that the line of passengers is moving quickly, and when the agents (they work in pairs) do suspect someone, based on factors such as vocabulary, general behavior, dress, age, race, religion and destination—they may be detained and questioned for as long as it takes.

But the scrutiny at Ben Gurion begins well ahead of the passenger’s arrival at the terminal itself. Every vehicle first passes through a security checkpoint where armed agents examine it, have a brief exchange with the driver, and assess their risk level. Meanwhile, the vehicle is gauged by a weight sensor, and an undercarriage scan. Then, outside and inside the terminal building agents are always mingling with the crowd pouring in, aided by hidden surveillance cameras that are monitored around the clock. Suspicious people would be challenged without waiting for them to reach a counter or a metal detector. An agent would approach them and strike a conversation to assess their mental state and risk level.

All of that well coordinated system relies on a broader intelligence infrastructure that uses informants, social network scrutiny and surveillance — traditional police methods which Israel’s security forces have been using and improving over the past decade and a half both in green line Israel and in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Chris Weller offered an excellent example for the way Israel combines computer technology with the human factor, to create a smooth, reliable, fast and effective communication system regarding predictive profiling. “I learned that before any passenger ever gives up his luggage to the fine folks at Ben Gurion International, an employee places a neon yellow sticker on the back of your passport. On it is a 10-digit number. The first number, ranging from one to six, indicates your perceived threat level to whomever else you’re passed along. I got a five.”

And so, with a simple bar-coded sticker, the first agent who meets the passenger communicates his impressions to the next agent down the line without having to exchange one word or even a gesture. Leftwing writer Lia Tarachansky complained a few years ago about the same system:

“So I enter the line … My Israeli-Palestinian roommate tells me he’ll wait while I answer the security lady’s questions. She sees I speak Hebrew, she asks if I packed my own bags and she gives me a ‘1’ as expected. I’m white and I’m an Israeli, therefore I’m probably a Zionist. High from excitement and privilege I ask if my friend can come with me to the check-in. She says of course and asks for his ID. Her face changes.

“Where it says the Jewish birth date the line in his ID is blank. i.e. not Jewish. i.e. Palestinian.

– you know this man?

– yes

– how?

– he’s my roommate

– where?

– Jaffa

– wait here.

“She looks at his last name. It’s Christian, i.e. Arab. She disappears with our passports. The roommate looks at me and we both know what’s going to happen. When she comes back her smile is gone. She tears the ‘1’ off my bags and angrily puts on a ‘3’ as though to say ‘you didn’t tell me you have an Arab friend!’ Her face says ‘don’t you see you’re [expletive] it all up for us?!’”

Tarachansky described in her vivid style just how unhappy she was with the Israeli security system, but the fact is that even in her anti-Israeli narrative one can see that no one was hurt in the encounter she described, no one was manhandled, no one even missed their flight. But the system quickly spotted and responded to the potential threat, and the response was to replace a passport sticker. This hostile depiction of the Israeli method is, in fact, a song of praise to a rational, sophisticated and effective security system.

One wonders whether Donald Trump, or the media, understand the full depth of this system when he describes Israel’s success in police work and security as “profiling.”


Upgraded Counter Terrorism Bill Passes First Knesset Reading

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

An upgraded counter terrorism law passed its first reading Thursday in the Knesset plenum.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) sponsored the bill. She told journalists it was intended to provide authorities with the many tools needed to “lead an effective battle against terrorist organizations, both in fighting their expanding activities and the funding that enables such activity.

“We believe that passing the Terror Act, in its current version is a necessary and vital step to advance the fight against terror,” she said. “In this fight, there is no ‘Left’ and ‘Right,’” she emphasized.

The proposal for the bill was formulated originally during the term of former justice minister Tzipi Livni. It gathers all current legislation dealing with counter terrorism into one measure, and broadens the definition of what constitutes a terrorist organization.

Under the new law, administrative detentions will be legalized, and those who support terrorism will receive up to three years’ imprisonment. The definition of terror support will include posting praises of terrorism online, waving flags connected with terror activity, etc.

In addition, accomplices to such crimes will receive the same penalties as perpetrators.

The maximum prison term will be raised to 30 years for terror-related crimes as well.

The notes of explanation that accompany the legislation point out: “The legislation’s objective is to give state authorities the proper legal, criminal and public tools to deal with the terror threats the State of Israel is facing… This is due to the unique nature of this type of crime, which is reflected in the severity of the infringement, on the one hand, and the difficulty of fighting it because of its scope and complexity on the other hand.”

The measure passed by a vote of 45-14.

It now moves to the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee for amendments and changes prior to a second and third, final reading.

Hana Levi Julian

US Officials Warn of ISIS Attacks on July 4

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

American police forces from coast to coast are on alert from federal officials that the Islamic State (ISIS) is planning to terrorize the country during the July 4 Independence Day holiday.

Homeland Security, the FBI and the National Counterterrorism Center sent an intelligence bulletin to law enforcement agencies.

No specific plots were spelled out, according to CNN, but there was a general warning because of the holiday and the upcoming visit of Pope Francis.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Friday, following multiple ISIS-linked attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia:

Particularly with the upcoming July 4th holiday here in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI continue to communicate with state and local law enforcement about what we know and see.

We are encouraging all law enforcement to be vigilant and prepared. We will also adjust security measures, seen and unseen, as necessary to protect the American people.

In Britain, the ISIS targeted the annual Armed Forces Day parade on Saturday, but intelligence officials foiled the plot, which was discovered by an undercover British agent who was recruited by the terrorist group.

The ISIS had told the investigator, according to the London Sun, “It will be big. We will hit the kuffar (unbelievers) hard InshAllah. Hit their soldiers in their own land. InshAllah. Soldiers that served in Iraq and Afghanistan will be present. Jump in the crowd and detonate the bomb.

“They think they can kill Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan then come back to the UK and be safe. We’ll hit them hard InshAllah.”

The multiple attacks on Friday indicate, whether coordinated or not, are clear signs that the Islamic State’s declared war on the world is more than rhetoric.

Dismissing the murderers as “lone wolves,” as some of Israel’s security officials and leftist media try to do in order to play down Palestinian Authority-incited terror, is not going to satisfy the nationwide American fear of the ISIS.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Terror Attack Stymied at Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

Israel Police prevented another young Arab from carrying out a deadly terror attack Sunday (June 7) on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.

A young man approximately age 25 moving around furtively aroused the suspicions of the security unit guarding the Temple Mount as he approached the Cotton Gate leading to the holy site.

The suspect apparently had second thoughts, however, and instead decided to leave the area when he noticed that his behavior had attracted the attention of police guarding the area. Nevertheless, police officers passed along the information by radio to other security personnel deployed in the area — and it’s a good thing they did.

Police who were stationed at the Iron Gate spotted the suspect once again trying to enter the Temple Mount. This time they detained him and called the commander attached to the site, Police Superintendant Shlomi Tobol, who began to ask the young man what he was doing there.

It’s important to know that many Israeli police officers — especially those assigned to guard the holy sites in Jerusalem and others deployed to areas with Arabic-speaking populations — speak fluent Arabic and in fact are also intimately familiar with the culture. There is a right way and a wrong way to behavior, to converse, and to ask a question in any society and when trying to get information to prevent a deadly terror attack, a chat with a witness or even a possible suspect is no exception.

This young suspect told Tobol during the extended conversation that followed that he had “formed within his heart” a resolve to carry out a terror attack at the site and stab one or several Jews, after having completed his final prayers at the Temple Mount. He also confessed to having purchased a knife and other equipment for the attack, which he had hidden away in a bag under a bush near the Damascus Gate in the Old City. After searching the area, police found knives and screwdrivers with which the suspect claimed he intended to carry out his attack.

The suspect was arrested and taken to the “David Precinct” for further questioning. The lethal evidence was confiscated as well.

The Temple Mount police commander praised the members of his unit for their quick and effective action. “I am proud of our police who were alert and operated smoothly to prevent this threat, which could have instead ended in a deadly terror attack,” Tobol said.

Hana Levi Julian

Jeb Bush Vows to Move US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said on Saturday he will move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem if he is elected to the White House in 2016.

Asked by reporters if Jerusalem should be Israel’s capital “forever,” Bush said:

I support that, absolutely. I also support moving the embassy to Jerusalem as well — our embassy. Not just as a symbol but a show of solidarity

However, there is little connection between promises to move the embassy to Jerusalem and actually doing so. Bill Clinton assured voters he would do so, but didn’t. George W. Bush promised to do so, and didn’t. And Mitt Romney, in the 2012 presidential election, promised to do so, and he lost.

The White House for years has followed the State Dept. policy that moving the American embassy to the capital of Israel would endanger American national security. It indeed would endanger the dream of the Arab world to eliminate a Jewish Israel by planting a Palestinian Authority flag on the Temple Mount in its never-never world of a new Arab state within Israel’s current borders and encompassing the Old City of Jerusalem.

The reasoning in Foggy Bottom must be that since moving the embassy would upset the Arabs, they might turn off the oil spigot, raising the price of oil and causing a recession in the United States. That would mean higher unemployment and a recession, creating grounds for a social protest that would allow the Islamic State (ISIS) to recruit more terrorist to take over the country.

Perhaps that is why Congress’ Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which states that the embassy must be moved to Jerusalem, has a waiver that states:

The president may suspend the limitations set forth in section 3(b) for a period of six months if he determines and reports to Congress in advance that such suspension is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.

The President may suspend such limitations for an additional six month period at the end of any period during which the suspension is in effect under this subsections if the President determines and reports to Congress in advance of the additional suspension that the additional suspension is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States.

Every American president, Democrat and Republican alike, has exercised the waiver every six months.

But the United States is becoming energy self-sufficient and less dependent on Arab oil, so the theory of national security being endangered by the high price of oil doesn’t hold much water.

Perhaps President Barack Obama is worried that moving the embassy would upset his proposed deal with Iran to supposedly oversee its nuclear development, and “no deal” would infuriate Iran into building a nuclear bomb to threat Washington.

Or perhaps moving the embassy would set off riots in Baltimore.

No matter what theory you come up with, the foreign policy non-thinkers in Washington will guarantee that moving the embassy endangers the citizens in Oskosh.

Doesn’t Jeb Bush care about the folks in Oskosh?


Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Mass Arrest in Organized Crime Sting

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Israel Police announced the arrest of some 50 suspects on Monday after a years-long investigation dealing with organized crime.

“This case deals with a series of incidents and suspected offenses committed in Israel and abroad,” said a police spokesperson. [They were] “serious and organized crimes that include violence and drugs, committed by dozens of suspects, some of whom are identified with activities of crime organizations.”

Dozens of homes of suspects across Israel were raided over the weekend, with seizures of vehicles, property and bank accounts.

The suspects are to be brought before a judge on Tuesday for extension of their remand, police said. All allegations were denied by the attorneys for their clients.

Jewish Press News Briefs

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