Standing With Israel

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Security checks
(Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

I have lived in Israel for 10 years. I have endured news of numerous bus bombings and restaurant explosions and the kidnapping of several Israeli soldiers. And the worst: In 2006, on the eve of Passover, a Palestinian strolled into a Falafel restaurant—one that had already been bombed twice. He had food in his mouth, so when he spoke to the security guard, the guard was unable to detect his non-Israeli accent.

The shomer (security guard) asked to see what was in his backpack—a question I have been asked more times than I can remember. The man picked up his bag and detonated a bomb. Shrapnel went flying, and so did people. More than a dozen people were killed. One man lay on the ground with a broken leg and a few other cuts and bruises. In front of him, he looked at his son who had shielded him from the blast.

Daniel Cantor Wultz looked at his dad, not realizing the bomb had gone through his back and decimated his insides. They had a brief conversation, and then he told his father, “I love you.” They were his last words. Amazingly, my 16-year-old cousin survived for nearly three weeks, unconscious, before he succumbed to his wounds.

This Is Terror

The goal of terror is to enslave you with fear. It is to make you afraid to ride a bus, eat at a restaurant or participate in a marathon. Terror is the ultimate weapon of the few over the many. Neither Saudi Arabia nor Afghanistan has fear of an Israeli or an American blowing himself up in order to commit mass murder on their soil. But it only takes a small terror cell of Islamic fanatics to cause mass hysteria.

In the late 1990s and the first few years after the turn of the century, it seemed there was a terror attack every week. Israelis stopped eating out and stopped going out. My friends Eddie and Jackie Santoro recall hearing more than one explosion from their balcony.

It Was Inevitable

The miracle of America is that she went 12 years without a major attack. Do you understand how easy it would be for 12 terrorists to walk into 12 different locations (like a McDonald’s at lunch) on any given day and cause mayhem? While the security forces and investigative forces in the U.S. are impressive, the actual security at events is scarily weak.

When events like the Boston Marathon are held in Israel, before you could get to the area surrounding the finish line—or any other area where there is a mass congregation of people—you would have to pass through security. Your bag would be briefly searched. We would have five or six lines, and people would pass through very quickly. Other security guards would be watching those in the line. Yes, they would be profiling! They would be looking for dark-skinned males (which make up about 25 percent of Israelis as well) who look out of place.

Profiling Works

In America, it would be even easier to profile because, by and large, Americans don’t look like they came from Saudi Arabia. Do you have a problem with this? Does it violate the civil liberties of certain citizens? Maybe, but friend, we’ve got to wake up. These people are murderous lunatics, and the only way to stop them is more security. My guess is that your objections to profiling would melt away if it were your 8-year-old son who was killed in Boston recently.

In Israel, we built a security fence. It was quite unpopular around the world. Left-wing activists from all over the world cried foul. I had more than one outraged tourist read me the riot act over my support of the fence. They tell me it is unfair to the Palestinians, and I quickly respond, "Then tell the Palestinian Authority to put an end to terror."

We didn’t want to build a fence. We don’t want to inconvenience Palestinians. We don’t want checkpoints. Israelis don’t inherently hate Arabs (as the majority of the Arab world hates us). But if you want to kill us, we will do whatever it takes to protect our people.

By the way, the world media outlets would have you believe the security fence is a massive, 24-foot cement wall. In truth, 97 percent of it is a mesh fence, and the few areas where it is a wall, those were necessitated by the fact that Palestinians were shooting at Israeli drivers.

Since its construction, the decrease in terror attacks is dramatic. In fact, there have been more terror attacks in the U.S. this year (1) than in Israel (0).

The fact remains: If the U.S. is going to protect herself against Islamic terror, it will take a lot of patience and beefed-up security. Just the other day (I was in the United States while writing this), I walked into a mall with a backpack, and it took my by surprise that there was not someone to search my bag. Oh yeah, I’m in America, I remembered.

You might wonder, Will heightened security really stop terror? The answer is yes and no. We are at war, and sadly there will be defeats, as we saw recently in Boston. But here is what I can guarantee you: With every layer of security, no matter how insignificant it may seem, it will serve to deter terrorists at least on some level. Every level of security has some positive effect.

That is what I came to understand in Israel. Obviously, one could hide a bomb in their car when entering a parking garage that a security guard would not find, but again, every layer of security has some effect, and you must embrace it. Consider:

  • A security guard at every entrance to a restaurant or mall
  • Security guards checking trunks at every parking garage
  • Every bag and backpack checked at every sporting event, concert or mass gathering.
  • More cameras in public areas
  • And, yes, training in the fine art of profiling

Ron Cantor is the director of Messiah’s Mandate International in Israel, a Messianic ministry dedicated to taking the message of Jesus from Israel to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Cantor also travels internationally, teaching on the Jewish roots of the New Testament. He serves on the pastoral team of Tiferet Yeshua, a Hebrew-speaking congregation in Tel Aviv. His newest book, Identity Theft, was released April 16. Follow him at @RonSCantor on Twitter.

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