Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Kfar Saba municipality
The first meeting of Jewish and Arab mayors who live along the seam line, close to terrorist enclaves in the PA, December 21, 2023.

Kfar Saba Mayor Rafi Sa’ar on Wednesday told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, chaired by MK Yuli Yoel Edelstein (Likud): “The distance between Kfar Saba and Qalqilya is between 600 meters and one kilometer. This means that if on October 7 they would have decided to attack us, there would be no one to stop them.”

“The approach should be that the rapid response security teams will remain intact from this point forward. The threats emanating from Qalqilya, Shechem, Jenin, and Tulkarem will persist, and on the day the army will leave the sector, we will be left with the rapid response security teams,” Sa’ar said.


He was one of several mayors whose communities are a stone’s throw away from what have become bustling terrorist enclaves over the past 15 years or so.

Last December, Sa’ar founded the Seam Line Municipalities Forum, with the mayors and heads of the Jewish and Arab councils of Hod Hasharon, D’rom Hasharon, Alfei Menashe, Kochav Yair-Zur Yigal, Emek Hefer, Jaljulia, Kafr Bara, Tira, Taiba, and Kafr Kasem.

The residents of several seam line communities have been complaining for years about digging noises they can hear from their bedrooms, located near the “Green Line,” marking what used to be known as the “West Bank.” After being mostly ignored for a long time, the security establishment’s attitude changed dramatically after the October 7, 2023 massacre, and they are now paying attention.

But being able to defend themselves is the highest priority for these mayors, Jews and Arabs alike. Hod Hasharon Mayor Amir Kochavi told the committee, “The rapid response security teams not only provide a sense of security, they also demonstrate a commitment to the mission and the goal.”

Unfortunately, he continued, “We are at a point in time where the rapid response security teams are running on their last fumes and are nearing the end of their activity. This is an important issue that must remain under the responsibility of the IDF. This is a much better solution than the alternatives, and canceling the rapid response security teams would be a severe mistake.”

On December 6, 2023, State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman conducted a tour of the security fence in the Jerusalem, Sharon, and Samaria areas, and reported, “We have to ensure that the fence is fully operational and examine the concept and effectiveness of the barrier.”

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, chaired by MK Yuli Yoel Edelstein (Likud), January 31, 2024. / Courtesy of the Knesset

The committee notes stated, “We have to find a solution that will enable the residents to sleep in peace and security. To bring about a solution for fortifying these localities and allay the concerns of the residents, who are in danger, we must provide them with funding and equipment for rapid response security teams that will remain there also after the reservists are released,”

For Yuval Arad, head of the Kokhav Ya’ir Tzur Yigal Local Council, the trauma of October 7 remains extremely vivid. As he told the committee, “The moment when the gun barrels will be turned against us can come very quickly. We are the soft spot of the State of Israel. If they pass us, nothing will stop them on the way to the heart of the State of Israel.”

Committee Chair MK Edelstein said, “The rapid response security teams and territorial defense units are a significant and integral part of the protection of Israel’s communities. The IDF is operating excellently, and on the day after the war as well, it will protect Israel and its borders. However, we mustn’t underestimate the operational value of a man defending his home. He knows every pathway and every corner; he knows what the community’s strong and weak spots are. The damage to the status and capabilities of the security coordinators was a grave mistake, and we will correct it. The State of Israel has to invest in and strengthen the civilian and local defense arrays throughout the country, and particularly in the Seam Line municipalities.”

Brig. Gen. (res.) Itzik Bar, deputy head of the National Security Council’s Counterterrorism, Public Security and Home Front Division, said “Since October 7, the State of Israel has been in a constant state of alert concerning sleeper cells within its territory, and this is why we quickly set up rapid response security teams within the ‘Bnei Hamakom’ project [in which reservists were drafted by emergency orders for civilian security missions]. As part of the project, rapid response security teams consisting of reservists who had not been called up were formed in all the internal security areas. At the same time, it was agreed that the Israel Police would form its own rapid response security teams for routine times. The ‘Bnei Hamakom’ rapid response security teams are supposed to be replaced by the Israel Police’s teams. ‘Bnei Hamakom’ is a temporary response. The Minister of Defense said the ‘Bnei Hamakom’ mechanism that was set up would be part of the IDF’s preparations for a future war.

“The threat of high-trajectory fire [on these localities] still exists. A lot has been done on this issue, and it is a real threat. A raid and penetration scenario [is possible]. In this regard, work must be done in cooperation with the local government and the Ministry of Interior, and budgets should be diverted to places where there are disparities,” he said.

Ministry of National Security official Sarit Nissim said, “Following October 10, the ministry created a model for the formation of rapid response security teams according to clear criteria. Nine hundred rapid response security teams were formed, including more than 200 in the Seam Line communities alone, and counting.”

Chief Supt. Nir Carmeli, project manager for the Israel Police’s rapid response security teams, said “By definition, the Israel Police was engaged in classic policing that deals mainly with crime, but we are in a different reality now, in which we examine all the reference scenarios. The commanders of the Israeli Police have decided to set up rapid-response security teams. There were 70 teams, and we formed 860 additional ones. Our goal is to reach a total of more than 1,200 teams. This will not work without budgets. We received NIS 60 million ($16.5 million)), and we need NIS 200 million ($55 million) for security components.”


Previous articleUtah Joins Texas, Florida, in Banning Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Educational Programs
Next articleTzion Redeemed In Justice
David writes news at