Israel’s security revolution on display

The International Homeland Security Conference took place just days before the Israel-Hamas war broke out.

Emanuel Mfoukou 521 (photo credit: Emanuel Mfoukou )
Emanuel Mfoukou 521
(photo credit: Emanuel Mfoukou )
Just days before the Israel-Hamas war broke out last month, Israel hosted its second annual international Homeland Security Conference, held at the trade fairgrounds in Tel Aviv. The conference brought together some of the leading experts on homeland security from all over the world, and featured exhibitors displaying the latest gadgets and techniques in such areas as megaevent security, cyber warfare, defending transportation and securing smart cities.
During the conference, participants ranging from government ministers and police chiefs to private business leaders could follow panel discussions led by experienced security experts such as Andrew Amery, head of security coordination at the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic games. Dr. Hilario Mederios, responsible for managing security at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, along with Dr. Luiz Fernando Correa of the organizing committee for the 2016 Brazil Olympic Games, were also on hand to explain how they are preparing for their respective megaevents from a security perspective.
Another heavyweight in domestic security who was present was Tom Ridge, the first US secretary of homeland security.
Ridge told the audience that we always need to be prepared for unexpected perils, but the threat from radical Islamic terrorists adopting the al-Qaida banner, cyber-terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons are still the biggest dangers facing American and Western interests.
The conference was also attended by Gideon Raff, the man behind the popular Israeli television series Hatufim, forerunner of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series Homeland in the US. Raff’s appearance was fitting, as his series deals with the arenas of security and counterterrorism. During a panel discussion, Raff said he believes it is important for the series to show how society is being protected, especially after 9/11.
In addition to such high-profile speakers, the conference also featured some 80 defense exhibitors displaying their various solutions to pressing security problems. One of the exhibitors was Magshoe, a company specializing in airport security and particularly the screening of footwear and the lower body. A representative from Magshoe told The Christian Edition that their shoe-scanning device was invented and available already two years before 9/11, and had it been adopted by the international community the terror attack against the Twin Towers could possibly have been avoided.
Another Israeli company specializing in cyber and physical security, Magal 3S, demonstrated examples of how they have provided security solutions to dozens of countries, including the supply of security technologies for the recent African Cup of Nations soccer tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Another Israeli exhibitor demonstrated how easy it is to gain access into a governmental or private computer network, allowing the hacker to listen to conversations and peer into rooms through computer monitors and otherwise take control of the network’s data and communications systems, thus proving the need for his company’s advanced firewalls.
Col. Jean Aive Allakoua, national police spokesman for the Republic of Congo, was part of a national delegation attending the conference, marking his first visit to Israel. He was amazed at what Israel had to offer, and his team was eager to explore the security solutions that would be suitable for Congo, especially as it prepares to host the 2015 All-Africa Games in the capital of Brazzaville.
“We came here to exchange experience in the field of security but also to see what’s new in the technological realm,” said Allakoua.
“When it comes to the African Games in 2015, we are faced with an enormous challenge. So we are looking into various ways to make sure that the Games will be carried out in a secure environment.”
He added that Congo is one of the safest countries in sub-Saharan Africa, but the national police are not able to relax and must be constantly prepared for new types of crimes and threats.
Conferences like the homeland security gathering in Tel Aviv provide an excellent platform to find new solutions for carrying out their jobs successfully, he insisted.
Allakoua also was keen to expand bilateral cooperation with Israel because of its vast experience in crisis management, intelligence and internal security.
“The Republic of Congo will try to learn from Israel’s experience in all these areas, so that our country can live in peace and security,” he assured.
Another participant was the Ethiopian minister for federal affairs, Dr. Shiferaw Teklemariam, who was thrilled with what he had seen and heard at the conference.
“This is a conference on homeland security affairs, but it’s also related to different private industries engaged in homeland-related technologies and solutions. So it was a golden opportunity to come here and see where the technology is today and how this technology can help other solutions,” he said.
Through this conference, which served as a window to the world on what Israel has to offer, several agreements were signed with various countries in attendance. The conference was a success even though several governmental delegations canceled their participation due to the increasing tensions with Hamas along the Gaza border.
Despite the difficult situation in the South, Israeli President Shimon Peres arrived as scheduled and delivered a farewell address at the close of the conference.
To tout Israel’s expertise in the security field, Peres noted that even though some countries do not recognize Israel, they nonetheless are interested in cooperating with Israel on security and defense issues. Peres added that his country is small in size, so it must be big in technology.
“We have two lakes,” Peres explained, referring to the Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee. “One is dead and the other one dying. We have one river which is very famous historically, but without water. We have no natural resources, no gold, no oil, no silver, and on top of that we are surrounded by hostility… Since we don’t have natural resources, our best resource is the human being. In Israel it’s not the land which has enriched the people, but the people who have enriched the land.”
“In the coming generation, you will see another revolution in security, the greatest one, more than any of us can ever imagine,” Peres concluded.