A little over 10 years ago, at the peak of the second intifada, Doron Horowitz
was sitting in his Toronto home when he first heard about the Park Hotel bombing
As he watched television images of bodies and wreckage,
Horowitz, a Canadian-Israeli who worked as a security consultant for the
Canadian Jewish community at the time, realized that something within him had
changed for good.
“I wasn’t going to sit at home and just watch this on a
30-inch screen,” he tells The Jerusalem Post
this week inside a Border Police
jeep patrolling the security fence west of Jerusalem.
Just days after the
2002 bombing, Horowitz flew to Israel and requested to volunteer for a unit
within the Border Police. Horowitz went on to serve for six weeks in the Tulkarm
area of the West Bank.
He has been back to Israel to volunteer for
service every year since.
“For me, it was the only thing to do,” he
says on Sunday, during his most recent trip to Israel to serve in his unit. The
jeep carrying Horowitz travels along an 8.5-kilometer stretch of the security
fence on a daily patrol aimed at preventing terrorists from crossing the border
On the other side of the fence, the sunny landscape ranges
from built-up urban Palestinian areas, made up of square-shaped white
residential homes peppered with mosque domes, to sloping
Horowitz was decorated twice for his service, most recently
this week, for actions he performed for Israel’s security. The latest decoration
was awarded him by Border Police chief Cmdr. Yoram Halevi for capturing an armed
terrorist. Horowitz, 47, is reluctant to discuss the incident, and shies away
from giving further details.
But he speaks with passion about what drives
him to come back year after year to serve in his unit in full combat
“It’s about serving something that is greater than yourself,” he
explains. “It’s about serving the Israeli people – not a political
ideology or politician.”
The jeep passes by the Palestinian village of
Beit Iba, an area that was the scene of a shooting attack on another patrol a
couple of months ago.
“This is a high risk area,” says Wissam Harp, a
Druse officer who commands the patrol from the bulletproof jeeps’ passenger
seat. The vehicle is driven by Idan Ardelani, who, together with Harp, serves as
a career officer. Roee Bracha, a 21-year-old soldier, is completing his
mandatory army service in the unit, and sits in the back seat with
Gesturing to the other officers, Horowitz says, “The
selflessness of what they do and their love for Israel is incredible. These are
the people who will protect the country no matter what.”
“At home in
Toronto, I wear a suit every day and value my work. Here, too, I value my work,
but I just wear a different suit.” he adds.
In Toronto, Horowitz works as
the national security director for the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, a
national non-profit advocacy organization.
He liaisons with Canadian law
enforcement agencies, assesses threats posed by terrorism and anti-Semitism to
synagogues and Jewish communities and helps draw up security policies, which include training and
“We are an instrument for all Jewish federations and
communities, affiliated and non-affiliated, in the fields of safety, security
intelligence and threat assessment,” he explains.
The jeep stops next to
a bullet hole piercing a low fence on the side of the road. “There was a
shooting attack here a few months ago. A guy lay in the field on the Palestinian
side and opened fire on a Border Police patrol,” Harp recalls. The jeep was hit,
but no injuries resulted.
The patrols also regularly encounter roadside
bombs and burning tires.
Horowitz speaks of the difficulties in leaving
his wife and two young girls for the dangerous mission.
“My family makes
no less of a sacrifice than an Israeli family when I come here. They become
Israeli in this way,” he says. “When I hear my little girl cry and ask
where Abba [Daddy] is going, I feel that in this respect, I am an
It has been the backing of his wife that has enabled him to
arrive each year, Horowitz says.
“She is a true woman of valor. She may
not know everything that I’m doing here, but she knows why I come,” he
Suddenly, a Palestinian taxi van drives through a field on the
other side of the fence at high speed. A minute later, a second Border Police
unit comes on over the radio.
“The van was carrying a potential
infiltrator. We captured him,” the unit reports.
Born to an Israeli
mother and a Canadian father, Horowitz lived in Canada until he was eight and
then moved to Jerusalem with his family. He completed his education at a
boarding school near Netanya and then served in the IDF, finishing his army
service in 1987.
He moved to New York and then Canada and entered the
security industry in the 1990s, serving in a broad range of security roles,
including acting as the close protection detail for the captain of the French
ship Archille Lauro, which was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists in 1985 in a
lethal attack that killed disabled American-Jewish passenger Leon
As the Border Police patrol comes to an end, Horowitz looks
forward to being reunited with his family in Canada and returning to work for
the Jewish community, but adds that he will always remain a part of his
“The professionalism and conviction of the Border Police officers
is unparalleled,” he says. “When you look into their eyes, you know they
will protect the Israeli people, come what may.”