The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley are always on the alert for possible threats and attacks. The threat to their safety has only grown with recent talk of annexation, as anti-Israel terrorists have increased their activities in the regions.
Fortunately for these communities, Marc Provisor is looking out for them, serving, for more than a decade, as director of security projects for One Israel Fund, an American philanthropic organization that supports many security and community-building projects in the regions of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
With the funds donated to One Israel Fund, Provisor works in coordination and cooperation with regional and local security departments, the Defense Ministry, the IDF Home Front Command and area security personnel to protect these communities and prevent tragedies.
According to Provisor, “In the last month we have been seeing a constant upward swing in attempted infiltrations and violence. Though little of this has been reported, it has been happening. I am proud to say that many of the security projects that One Israel Fund has completed and initiated have yielded great results in thwarting these attempts.” Provisor’s past military experience makes him an incomparable asset. Born in the US, Provisor made aliyah with his family in 1978, going on to serve as a paratrooper with the IDF from 1981 to 1984. While service in the IDF is rarely without action, Provisor saw more than his fair share, fighting in the First Lebanon War in 1982. After his release from the IDF, Provisor traveled back to the US for study, but felt the call of Israel too strongly to stay away for long. He moved back to the Jewish homeland in 1991, and in 1996 assumed the role of security chief in Shiloh. Then, from 2000 through 2005, during the Second Intifada, Provisor combated terrorist attacks on a daily basis as the IDF’s security coordinator in the region. His exceptional counter-terror skills earned him the Award of Excellence and Valor from the IDF Central Command.
Today, with One Israel Fund, Provisor is at the vanguard of mapping out solutions and bringing them to the people in charge of security in Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley and Western Negev (Gaza) border communities. This work requires more than military and security experience , though. It requires a keen eye, a cooperative spirit and a creative mind. Provisor’s keen eye is evident as he ascertains the security needs of each community. He is able to work cooperatively with security chiefs across the regions, as well as the IDF Homefront Command. As for creativity, there Provisor draws on his past as a professional artist.
After serving in the IDF, Provisor became an artist, selling and exhibiting his artwork in galleries across the US. While serving as security chief in Shiloh, he also taught art to area teenagers. While this dichotomy may seem odd to some, Provisor was quick to quash that thought.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people in the security field, the type you see on Fauda, are also amazingly artistic,” Provisor says, referring to a popular Israeli television show. “Security professionals who are also artists know how to ‘see’ out of the box. They know how to compose solutions that most do not realize.” Provisor’s artistic ability is one of the attributes that helps him to excel as One Israel Fund’s director of security projects. Every security situation is unique and Provisor will often bring his sketch pad with him when evaluating defenses.
“Art is constantly striving to achieve and capture beauty or to make a visual statement on a situation. Security attempts to provide safety from the dark, unknown threats that we fear and wish to avoid,” says Provisor.
With Hamas routinely building tunnels to smuggle weapons in the south as well as many terror cells throughout Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, there is always a threat of infiltration. It is essential that security personnel have all they need to stop terrorists from succeeding. The local governments in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza border communities know and trust Provisor and his colleagues at One Israel Fund. They rely on Provisor’s track record of saving scores of Jewish lives.
“I have learned through my 20-plus years in security not to take these threats lightly, and indeed, as I mentioned, we see positive results. We are currently focusing on strengthening the smaller communities that are not receiving the needed budgets in order to secure themselves,” Provisor says. “I am happy to say that many of the communities and regional councils are taking part in the costs of these projects, so that our fund-raising efforts go much further than ever.” When funds are donated to One Israel Fund the donors are able to choose to which project the funds will be allocated.
“The funds go 100% to the security project, or I would have quit long ago,” Provisor says.
Provisor and his colleagues work in coordination with the Home Front Command to bring state-of-the-art equipment and resources to these regions. According to Provisor, one such gain – the “Guy” Mobile Thermal Observation System – has been a game-changer. This portable vehicle mounted thermal surveillance system allows security personnel to remotely view readings on portable devices, which allows them to identify threats and prevent potential terror attacks. These ultramodern devices provide close-range and long-range monitoring up to one km., and more. This project has been deemed “high priority.” Other projects initiated by Provisor that have saved countless lives are initiatives to upgrade communication systems to expand coverage area and bolster reception, which allows security teams across the regions to connect with one another, transmit vital information and respond more quickly; to install perimeter surveillance camera systems; to better equip security vehicles; and to provide items such as security chief emergency kits, which provide tools and protection; and the “Armadillo” protective blankets, which provide portable protection from shrapnel from rockets and mortars.
Smaller communities often don’t have sufficient budgets to protect themselves adequately. As such, One Israel Fund has also purchased various types of drones that are able to stop acts of terror by giving security chiefs the ability to better monitor their areas. Previously, a woman was murdered by a terrorist at a spring in Dolev, where there was no surveillance; now, security personnel are able to monitor the area and prevent similar deadly attacks.
“Our focus is on surveillance systems, command centers – including the improved communication equipment – for the communities as well as equipment needed for the security chiefs to respond to any emergency that arises,” Provisor says.
And those security chiefs are grateful for Provisor’s continued support and expertise. Daniel Hanson, the deputy chief of security for Gush Etzion, has known Provisor for a long time, meeting him during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002.
“I was a reserve company commander allocated to the Palestinian villages that immediately threatened the Shilo bloc. Several weeks prior to the launch of Operation Defensive Shield, a Palestinian terrorist from the village of Silwad murdered 10 Israelis — seven soldiers and three civilians,” Hanson says. “At the time my orders were to protect the Jewish communities in the vicinity, with Shilo being the largest at the time.” This was the same time that Provisor was Shiloh’s security chief (know as Ravshatz, in Hebrew).
“As opposed to other ‘Ravshatzim’ I had previously met, Marc made a lasting impression,” Hanson says. “Although Marc knew everything in his jurisdiction far better than anyone else, including a young reserve company commander, he went out of his way to share his knowledge without giving the ‘sheriff attitude’ common with many Ravshatzim. Marc’s knowledge both of the terrain and villages allowed me to prioritize the military operations in the area with success.” So, when he ran into Provisor again nearly 11 years later, Hanson was confident in the One Israel Fund projects being proposed in Gush Etzion. He says he considers Provisor to be “the perfect person for the job.”
“Fast forward to July 2020 and we are now on another one of many One Israel Fund projects in Gush Etzion for the year,” Hanson says, giving most of the credit to Provisor. “Marc does his homework. He learns from incidents; reviews intelligence reports and sees what is lacking and using his own personal security knowledge begins to form the next line of defense for community security.” He adds, “How do you know it was Marc? Look for the ‘Powered by One Israel Fund’ bumper sticker. For me that sticker is a guarantee that Marc has personally led the project from the beginning until the handover.”
According to Hanson, even with the challenges currently posed by COVID-19 gridlock, Provisor is still meeting with security chiefs and helping the communities.
“The next time you see a security vehicle with the a ‘Powered by One Israel Fund’ sticker or enter a community that has a donor’s plaque with the One Israel Fund logo on it, remember all the credit goes to Marc,” Hanson says.
The writer is a pro-Israel advocate.