Trump’s proposed border wall has polarized the United States. Republican and Democrats are locked in a shutdown with no end in sight. In such an environment, it may be useful to stop arguing and look to a country that has much experience with walls: Israel.
Unbeknownst to many Americans, Israel actually has two security walls. The first wall separates Israel’s major cities from Palestinian Authority-dominated areas in Judea and Samaria. This wall was built after a horrific wave of terrorism in 2000-2005 during which over 1,000 Israelis were killed and many more wounded.
In some places, it comprises concrete slabs while elsewhere it comprises solid steel fencing, along with barbed wire and high-tech defenses. Measuring about 440 miles long and 25 feet high, it has accomplished its purpose. After it was built, acts of terrorism in Israel’s main cities plummeted by some 95 percent.
Israel’s second wall/fence lies on the southern border separating Israel and Egypt. From 2010-2012, approximately 55,000 illegal aliens, mostly from Eritria and Sudan, entered Israel, mainly for economic reasons. In a tiny country like Israel, 55,000 is an enormous number. Most of them settled in the relatively run-down, but peaceful south Tel Aviv area, as well as several working-class towns.
Within a short amount of time, crime skyrocketed in these areas. Theft, rape, and even murder reaching unprecedented levels. Grassroots pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to do something was intense. Eventually, Israel’s government decided to build a physical barrier over 150 miles long on its border with Egypt.
In 2016, after the wall’s height was increased and the high-tech measures were improved, only 11 illegals succeeded in entering. In 2017, after all upgrades were fully completed, not a single person succeeded in entering Israel illegally through that southern border.
The Israeli experience teaches us that walls work. Politicians and Americans of all stripes should take notice.