In fighting Iran, Israel “serves the cause of security and peace beyond the Middle East,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday, in his address to the International Homeland Security Forum in Jerusalem.
“We ask for the support of your governments,” he added, appealing to the 20 ministers at the conference hosted by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
“After the Iran deal, it took the money and started expanding its empire, trying to put military in Syria, trying to attack Israel – we are of course resisting it,” Netanyahu said.
Iran is trying to colonize Syria as part of its goal of defeating Israel, Netanyahu said. “It wants to use 80,000 Shia militants in Syria. Syria is 90% Sunni – [but] their goal is to convert the Sunnis. This is the recipe for another civil war... By preventing that we are also helping the security of other countries of the world,” he asserted, noting that Israel had bombed Iranian-backed army bases in Syria
Netanyahu also outlined how Israel is fighting the threat of the Islamic State, saying that Israel has helped stopped dozens upon dozens of attacks worldwide.
Islamic State is trying to start a state in Sinai, he said, adding: “We are preventing a mass migration and an ISIS state in Sinai... We don’t want another ISIS state”
Netanyahu also discussed the “nightmare” situation created by drones. “All you need is a $50 contraption and 5 kilos of TNT... to hit the White House.”
This, he said, has immense consequences. “We have to harness technology against technology. It’s a huge challenge.”
Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich also discussed the changing face of terrorism in the opening speech of the session on Thursday.
“The Israel Police carries out classic policing and law enforcement operations, but we are also responsible for public safety by law. In the past, the security threats were mainly of wars, conducted by armies within the borders of the state,” he told the audience. “The security burden has gradually shifted to the shoulders of the Israel Police, and today we are unfortunately faced with terrorism that has no political or organizational limits. Terrorists are less vulnerable because they do not occupy a defined territory and they represent a radical ideology making decisions sporadically.”
“Through cyberspace and the knowledge that is available, this process has also created a blurring of the boundaries between crime and terrorism... In this era some can could be a drug dealer today and a radicalized Islamist terrorist tomorrow,” he said.
“In our case we are dealing with the phenomenon of ‘lone wolf,’ which requires all the police for a rapid response capability at any time and anywhere, no matter what the role,” he continued.
“As a police force that faces numerous complex challenges in the fight against terrorism and law enforcement, we have chosen to place the law-abiding normative citizen at the center of our organizational attention and we always prefer to prevent crime as much as possible and not to fill prisons,” Alsheich stressed. “This process is even more demanding for the policeman in the field, since it compels him to take the initiative, to distinguish between a criminal and a normative citizen, all taking into account the differences and cultural characteristics of every population.
THE HEAD of the administration for improving police services in Arab communities, Commissioner Jamal Hakroosh, also addressed the audience, speaking about multicultural policing.
He described the problems created by the historic lack of policing in Arab village.
“How can we expect there to be trust? You will understand the implications – since 1967, not one police station has been established in Arab communities, and for years the organizational attention was outside Arab communities and Arab society had no legitimacy to serve in the police force. Let me pose a harsh question: Would any of you feel safe and would you feel equal in a situation where there are no police near your home, and a call to the police is answered after 30 minutes or an hour?”
But he said the situation is improving thanks to a new program to improve policing in Arab communities.
“The government of Israel, led by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, initiated a revolutionary program to change the situation and established the plan for “Improving Police Services in Arab Society in Israel,” in which 1,350 police officers have already been recruited, including 300 Muslim Arabs – of them, 32 Muslim women,” he said. “Some of these women serve in religious clothing, a precedent unparalleled anywhere in the world and in the history of the Israel Police.”
The plan includes the establishment of 12 new police stations in Arab communities, the recruitment of 1,350 new police officers and initiatives for social-police projects in the Arab communities, the recruitment of more than 300 Arab police officers in the villages of Jisr e-Zarka and Kafr Kama – those villages that have experienced difficult events with the Israel Police over the years – and five new stations that will be established by the end of the year.
The police is also working to educate and train Arab young commanders to attract balance and integration of Arab policemen at the commanding and decision-making levels of the organization.
“This proved itself in a way that surprised us all,” he said. “The change was immediate – less violence and more fruitful dialogue between the police and the residents. And the change began when the civilians realized that the police were with him and not against him. One who is a symbol of the rule of law, one who wears a uniform, and everyone sees him, the same policeman we believe will serve as an ambassador of the Israel Police on the Arab street and an agent of change in the Arab society as well as within the Israeli Police. “
He also noted a dramatic increase in the general recruitment of Muslims to the police force.
“The plan began to produce results in the field, and the public began to vote for the police, and over the past two years, over 4,000 young Muslim men and women have joined the police force. This is a fact that cannot be ignored,” he said. “The reality is that the writing is still on the wall, and the change is necessitated by the fact that the reality is explosive and sensitive, and every event is liable to take the system out of the balance that we aspire to maintain.”
The International Homeland Security Forum constituted the first meeting of the international forum to deal with common threats in the fields of terrorism, incitement and cyberwarfare.