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Latest News in Israel – 24th March

Israel-bound traveler tells how he missed Brussels explosion by minutes

Twenty minutes made the difference between life and death for Christian Kremer on Tuesday morning.

The Belgian politician checked into a flight bound for Israel aboard Brussels Airlines at 7:40 a.m. at the same set of checkout counters where two explosions occurred just 20 minutes later, killing 14 people. A bomb in a major metro station a short time later left another 20 people dead.

A terror attack was the last thing on Kremer’s mind as he left his home in a taxi at 7 a.m. He did so earlier than usual because of security requirements for his flight to Ben Gurion International Airport. Had he been heading to another European city, he would have checked in at around 8 a.m.

“In the end 20 minutes is not a terrible lot of time,” he told The Jerusalem Post in a telephone interview later that day in which he speculated about how easily he could have been delayed.

“I could have been stuck in a traffic jam,” he said.

“It was good luck for me that on this particular morning I had a flight to Israel and not to some other place in Europe. Contrary to my habit I left rather early because I thought there would be additional security measures to fly to Israel,” Kremer said.

He even had time to smoke a cigarette outside and take a selfie of himself.

“Everything was perfectly normal. It was starting to get crowded, but not unusually crowded,” he recalled. He passed easily through security, passport control and into the business lounge. He did not hear the explosion as he helped himself to coffee, two cheese croissants and an orange juice.

But he noted that people were suddenly leaving the room. He imagined that a bomb scare of sorts had occurred. So he dropped his food and grabbed a bottle of water instead before joining the other travelers. It was only when he checked a news site on his smart phone that he understood what happened. Announcements came over the loudspeakers that stated: “evacuation, evacuation,” he recalled.

There was a false moment of panic as they were herded out of the building and onto the runway area. Some people began to run because they feared another attack had occurred, he said. From the runway they were bused to a cargo area on the airport grounds and held for close to three hours before they were allowed to leave.

People were walking out of the airport by the thousands, Kremer said. His luck for the day continued to hold, however, and somehow he found one of the few available taxis that took him home.

The impacts of the attacks were felt throughout the city, said Kremer who is the Deputy Secretary General of the European People’s Party. “People were told to stay inside and not to leave their houses. Public transportation was closed down. He felt it less in his home just outside the city, he said.

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yaakov Yeret was praying at the Brussels airport synagogue when a bomb went off. He was on his way from New York back home to Israel.

“We felt the explosion,” he said and explained that he understood immediately that it was a terror attack because he has been responding to such incident for 11 years. “We exited the synagogue in order to see what was happening and we joined the stream of people who were being ushered by the police to exit the terminal,” he said.

After he left the airport he made his way to Antwerp from where he is hoping to catch a flight to Israel.

The vicious attacks in the troubled European capital plugged up travel, both in the city, where the metro had been hit by a bomb, and internationally.

“People left the airport but couldn’t take a train back to their hotel,” said Mark Feldman, who runs travel agency Zion Tours.

Flights between Belgium and Israel were canceled for the rest of Tuesday and for all of Wednesday, according to a spokesman for the Israel Airport Authority.

Initially following the attack, security officials said all flights coming to Israel from Europe would not be allowed to land until midnight. However, it was later decided that flights would be able to continue throughout the day, but with delays.

Miri Friedman, a 23-year-old senior at Ariel University, was in Brussels for a model EU competition when the attacks happened.

“We were supposed to be at a conference today, but unfortunately we couldn’t leave the hotel by order of the Israeli embassy,” she said.

Though she was confident flights would be back to normal by the time they planned to return to Israel on Sunday, she said getting around in the interim was a problem. The metro station that was attacked was the one the group was headed toward for their conference.

“We do not want to take the metro. We don’t want to take any chances.

And when it comes to walking around, we’ll listen to the instructions from the embassy,” she said, heaping praise on the embassy for their quick and efficient reaction to the attack.

Nicky, an Israel-based employee at Innodata who asked that her last name not be used, was supposed to fly to Brussels for a work meeting Tuesday.

“My plans for today have drastically changed, and of course I’m very concerned for everyone in Belgium,” she said. Regarding her business meetings, she added, “My suitcase is here, ready to go. I just have to wait and see.”

Feldman noted that the closures were causing problems for many Israelis who were in Washington, DC for the AIPAC Policy Conference, and were supposed to fly back via Europe, though the reinstatement of flights from most European capitals should ease that pressure.

The Israel Airports Authority advised travelers to check with the individual airlines to determine the status of their flights. Though the attacks raised concern about airport safety, Nicky said she would be ready to get on the next flight as soon as it was available.

“If they reopen the airport, I’m confident they’ll do it with a lot of security,” she said.  (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu speaks to Belgian PM, offers counterterror help

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night spoke on the phone with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, offering condolences to the families of the victims in the deadly Brussels attacks and Israeli assistance to combat terror.

A series of bombings claimed by the Islamic State group on Tuesday ripped through the Brussels airport and a metro train, killing around 35 people in the latest attack to bring carnage to the heart of Europe.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu told the Belgian premier that terror does not distinguish between countries.

He conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims, and “offered Israel’s help and cooperation in the war on terror,” the statement said, without elaborating.

The two leaders agreed to meet soon.

Earlier Tuesday, Netanyahu linked a wave of terror attacks in Israel since October to global terrorism in an address, via satellite, to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference.

From attacks in Brussels to Paris to Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said, “the terrorists have no resolvable grievances,” including Israel’s control of the Palestinian territories. “It’s not as if we could offer them Brussels, or Istanbul, or California, or even the West Bank,” he said.

On Tuesday morning, bloodied and dazed travelers staggered from the airport after two explosions — at least one blamed on a suicide attacker and another reportedly on a suitcase bomb — tore through crowds checking in for morning flights. About 40 minutes later, another blast struck subway commuters in central Brussels near the Maelbeek station, which sits amid the European Commission headquarters.

Authorities released a photo taken from closed-circuit TV footage of three men pushing luggage carts, saying two of them apparently were the suicide bombers and that the third — dressed in a light-colored coat, black hat and glasses — was at large. They urged the public to contact them if they recognized him. The two men believed to be the suicide attackers apparently were wearing dark gloves on their left hands.

In police raids across Brussels, authorities later found a nail-filled bomb, chemical products and an Islamic State flag in a house in the Schaerbeek neighborhood, the state prosecutors’ office said in a statement.

In its claim of responsibility, the Islamic State group said its members detonated suicide vests both at the airport and in the subway, where many passengers fled to safety down dark tunnels filled with hazy smoke from the explosion in a train pulling away from the platform.

European security officials have been bracing for a major attack for weeks and warned that IS was actively preparing to strike. The arrest Friday of Salah Abdeslam, a key suspect in the November 13 attacks in Paris, heightened those fears, as investigators said many more people were involved than originally thought and that some are still on the loose.

“In this time of tragedy, this black moment for our country, I appeal to everyone to remain calm but also to show solidarity,” said Michel, who announced three days of mourning in his country’s deadliest terror strike.

“Last year it was Paris. Today it is Brussels. It’s the same attacks,” said French President Francois Hollande.

Belgium raised its terror alert to the highest level, shut the airport through Wednesday and ordered a city-wide lockdown, deploying about 500 soldiers onto Brussels’ largely empty streets to bolster police checkpoints. France and Belgium both reinforced border security.                      (The Times of Israel)

‘I have kids here. Who will defend them?’ asks Israeli in Brussels

Ronen Gan-El was on the way to drop his son off at his Brussels school when he found out about Tuesday morning’s explosion in the airport and metro, which left 14 dead and scores injured.

“I actually heard about it from someone in Israel. My wife’s mom called and said, ‘Listen, there’s been an attack at the airport,’” Gan-El told The Times of Israel over the phone. “I thought she meant the Israeli airport.”

Eventually he realized the attack had occurred in Zavantem, just a few miles away, on the outskirts of the city that has been Gan-El’s home for the past three years.

The next attack struck even closer, he said.

“The second hit in a metro station called Maalbeek, which is pretty close to the European Union where my wife works,” Gan-El said. “We were lucky, my wife missed the metro today.”

When he heard where the second attack had occurred, Gan-El had already made it to work after leaving his son at kindergarten.

“I ran like crazy,” he said. “I’m from Sderot, I’m from the south. I have enough experience with terror, but even I was scared. I ran like crazy to get my wife from a metro station. And I just took her home.”

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.

“Soldiers of the caliphate… carried out an attack targeting the crusader state of Belgium, which is fighting Islam and its people,” the group said in a statement posted online. “We promise the nations of crusaders that are allied against the Islamic State that dark days lie ahead, in response to their aggression against our State… what awaits you will be harder and more bitter, with Allah’s permission.”

Local media was reporting a total of 34 dead — 14 in two bomb blasts in the departure terminal of the airport and 20 more in the second explosion a short while later at the metro station. Dozens were injured in both incidents.

The public transport system in the city was shut down in the wake of the blasts, which authorities quickly categorized as terror attacks.

At first the Jewish schools in Belgium were put on lockdown, keeping the children within the buildings, but eventually they instructed parents to come pick up their kids and take them home.

For Gan-El, an Israeli emissary who has worked in the Brussels Jewish community as a Hebrew teacher for several years, the attack did not come as a surprise.

“It was clear that they wanted to do something big. We actually had two professional [security officers] come in last week and say, ‘Look, you have to be careful. They are planning, they are planning,’” Gan-El said.

The Belgian government also indicated that there had been signs that a terrorist attack in Brussels was imminent.

Saleh Abdeslam, one of the planners of November’s devastating terror attacks in Paris, was arrested four days ago in Belgium. He reportedly told his interrogators that a terror cell in the country was prepared to carry out an attack.

Abdeslam told investigators “he was ready to restart something in Brussels… we have found a lot of weapons, heavy weapons, in the first investigations and we have found a new network around him in Brussels,” Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders told AFP on Tuesday.

Top Belgian officials hold a press conference after the multiple explosions in Brussels at the airport and in the metro, on March 22, 2016 in Brussels (AFP/BELGA/Nicolas Maeterlinck)

Top Belgian officials hold a press conference after the multiple explosions in Brussels at the airport and in the metro, on March 22, 2016 in Brussels (AFP/BELGA/Nicolas Maeterlinck)

Those apparent intelligence failures, and what travelers described to the BBC as a “confused” response by the police after the airport bombings, did not leave an impression of security or safety on Gan-El.

“We can’t trust the authorities here,” he said. “This is a new thing for them. They react hysterically. They have no idea what’s going on. You see the cops are very agitated, the soldiers are very agitated. You feel like they don’t know what to do.”

As a result of those fears, the Belgian Jewish community has already canceled many of its plans for the upcoming Purim holiday, the progressive International Jewish Community announced on Tuesday.

“We all grieve — for the deaths, the loss and the pain — but also for our sense of safety and security. With everything that has happened, the IJC is cancelling its Purim event, which was planned for tomorrow night,” the community said in a statement.

It is not a time for risk and certainly not for celebration. For the moment, we are still planning on coming together for Shabbat. As we figure out what is the best way forward, in consultation with security experts and the authorities, we will let you all know,” the IJC said.

Some in the Jewish community saw echoes of the 2014 terror attack on the Belgian Jewish Museum, in which four people were killed by 29-year-old French-Algerian Mehdi Nemmouche.

unnamed

Ronen Gan-El

“What began with the jihadist fatal attack on the Jewish Museum nearly two years ago has now reached the airport and metro,” Kenneth Bandler, director of media relations for the American Jewish Committee, wrote in an email about the Tuesday morning attacks in Brussels.

“This is yet another shocking, appalling and deadly attack on innocent Europeans by radical terrorists,” European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said in a statement.

Gan-El was born in Belgium but lived almost his entire life in Israel. His wife and son are Israeli-born, but his daughter was born in Brussels.

“It feels like the (Belgian) government doesn’t know what to do, and that’s really scary,” he said.

“It’s really frustrating because I have kids here. Who will defend them? Me?” he asked.

The young father and his family came to Belgium for the work opportunity and chance to contribute to the Jewish community, but the attacks and wanting response by the government are driving Gan-El to reconsider his living situation, he said.

“We are thinking about coming back, if things continue as they are,” Gan-El said.  (The Times of Israel)

After Brussels attack, world looks to Israel as model for airport security

Authorities in Europe and across the world tightened security at airports, railway stations, government buildings and other key sites after deadly attacks Tuesday on the Brussels airport and its subway system.

With Brussels in lockdown and the French prime minister saying that Europe is “at war,” European leaders held emergency security meetings and deployed more police, explosives experts, sniffer dogs and plainclothes officers, with some warning against travel to Belgium.

The nervousness was felt far and wide. In New York City, authorities deployed additional counterterrorism units to crowded areas and transit locations.

After a string of extremist attacks targeting the heart of Europe over the past year, some analysts say Europe will finally have to implement a much tougher level of security not only at airports, but also at “soft targets” like shopping malls — the kind that Israelis have been living with for years.

“The threat we are facing in Europe is about the same as what Israel faces,” said Olivier Guitta, the managing director of GlobalStrat, an international security consultancy. “We have entered an era in which we are going to have to change our way of life and take security very seriously.”

Strong criticism of Belgian security came on Tuesday from Pini Schiff, a former security director at Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport, which is considered among the most secure in the world. After Palestinian attacks on Israeli planes and travelers in the 1970s, Israeli officials put in place several layers of security at that airport in Tel Aviv, meaning an attacker who escapes notice at one level of security would likely be captured by another.

Schiff said the attacks at the Brussels airport mark “a colossal failure” of Belgian security and that “the chances are very low” such a bombing could have happened in Israel.

There are some, however, who fear that little more can realistically be done.

“The public needs to understand that if we are to continue enjoy living in a free society we have to respond in a proportional way,” said Simon Bennett, director of the Civil Safety and Security Unit at the University of Leicester, England. “In my opinion, airport security is as tight as we can reasonably make it in a free society.”

Philip Baum, author of “Violence in the Skies: A History of Aircraft Hijacking and Bombing,” said “putting people through more hoops,” isn’t the answer to the ever-evolving threat. He said security personnel need to start using behavioral analysis to focus on negative intent. He also said they need better training, more flexibility and should start using more animals.

“It’s all about making security less predictable,” Baum said.

In Moscow, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov told Russian news agencies that authorities will “re-evaluate security” at Russian airports, although its measures are already among some of the toughest across Europe. There have been mandatory checks at the entrances to airports since a 2011 suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport that killed 37.

Security was high at all Paris airports and at Gatwick and Heathrow in London, among many others.

At Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, sniffer dogs were deployed in the check-in areas, while at Milan’s Malpensa airport police in carts were patrolling the areas before security checks.

In Germany, the state rail system, Deutsche Bahn, halted its high-speed rail service from Germany to Brussels, stopping them at the border city of Aachen.

Meanwhile, the international high-speed train operator Thalys suspended all of its train traffic Thursday and urged travelers to postpone trips to Belgium. Last year, an attack on a Thalys between Brussels and Paris was foiled by three Americans and a Briton traveling on the train.

Egypt also said it was increasing security, with top security officials asked to personally handle security checks inside airports and in outside areas like hotels and car parks.

Egypt has been working to improve its security after a Russian jet was brought down last October by extremists after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport, killing all 224 people on board. Moscow said it was brought down by an explosive device, and a local branch of the extremist Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for planting it.

In Greece, police added additional security at airports, metro stations and embassies with uniformed and plain-clothed officers. But government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili said there were no additional security measures being taken for refugees and migrants following the Brussels attacks.

“We are not making any linkage between those two issues. That would be a defeat for Europe,” she said.                                   (The Times of Israel)

Terror victim’s son to UNHRC: You encourage murder

Israeli victims of Palestinian terror testified Monday before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) as it convened in Geneva to discuss a series of anti-Israel resolutions, including the appointment of a new representative to monitor “human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories.” Outside, about 300 pro-Israel protesters demonstrated against the resolutions.

In a show of solidarity with Israel, several NGOs who hold observer status in the Council invited the terror victims, including Micah Avni, son of Richard Lakin, the peace activist killed in theEast Talpiot terror attack in Jerusalem five months ago.

Avni opened his remarks with a description of his father: “He was a nice, gentle man, a principal of an elementary school where thousands of children were taught, and was a human rights activist who was devoted to promoting co-existence. He marched with Martin Luther King and founded a school in Israel where Jewish, Muslim and Christian children studied.”

“On October 13,” continued Avni, “two Palestinian terrorists attacked a bus full of innocent civilians in Jerusalem. They shot my 76-year-old father in the head.”

Avni then turned to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the UN Israel investigator, and the Human Rights Council saying that “you did not publicly condemn the Palestinian terrorists or the incitement of the Palestinian Authority, which nourishes the deadly violence. This council’s website says that the United Nations responds to the actions of terrorism and lists a long list of terrorist attacks and condemnations by the United Nations. My father’s name is not listed there. In fact, not a single Israeli killed by Palestinian terrorists since September is listed.”

Avni pointed out that “the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas praised my father’s murderer and called him a martyr. Palestinian society encourages people to kill Israelis. I came here today to challenge you: killing civilians on a bus is a terrorist act. I challenge you to immediately condemn the murder of my father. I challenge you to condemn Abbas who called the killer a martyr and who calls for violence and hatred.

“The UNHRC is like the train leading to Auschwitz. Until you see the rampant anti-Semitism that takes place here, you don’t realize how dangerous it is. Israel as a state cannot continue to ignore what is happening here. Every Israeli government must join the struggle, to show what is happening here and to work towards having US cease its funding to this display of hatred. Representatives of tyrants and dictators are sitting here and receive money from the US to lambaste Israel.”

Meanwhile, around 300 people demonstrated in front of the Palace of Nations in Geneva in protest of the UNHRC’s likely adoption of decisions against Israel. Among the protesters from pro-Israel organizations were citizens of Switzerland, Hungary, Slovakia, France and the United States.

Pro-Israel rally[1]

Pro-Israel rally outside the Palace of Nations in Geneva

The first speaker at the demonstration was MK Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), who organized the demonstration. “We are here, Jews and non-Jews, because inside the council building, they are supporting violence, terror and injustice,” said Lapid. “This is not a human rights council, but a terrorists rights council.”

Lapid called for stopping funding of the council, which he dubbed “an anti-Semitic organization that supports Palestinian terrorism,” and bemoaned that “they don’t try to conceal the fact that they are anti-Israel and anti-Jewish. Today they are discussing a series of resolutions against Israel. But against our enemies who are among the world’s worst violators of human rights, no resolutions will be made.”

The Palestinian mission’s spokeswoman at the UNHRC blamed Israel, following the latest council report on activities in the territories, of “a policy of targeted killings and increasing oppression of Palestinians, especially children.”

According to her, from the end of Operation Protective Edge until the beginning of this March, Israel has killed “122 Palestinians,” including women and children. “The Palestinians are deprived of the right to life,” claimed the Palestinian spokesperson. “Israel enjoys immunity for its actions.”          (Ynet News)

PA to ban the sale of products from five major Israeli brands

The Palestinian Authority said Tuesday it would ban the sale of products from five major Israeli companies in Gaza and the West Bank in reaction to a recent Israeli decision to ban the sale of products from five Palestinian companies in east Jerusalem.

In its weekly meeting Tuesday, the Palestinian government declared an immediate ban on the sale of products from Tnuva, Zoglowek, Strauss, Tara and Jafora-Tabori.

PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah revealed on Sunday that Israel has prohibited the sale of products from five Palestinian companies in east Jerusalem in order to “transform east Jerusalem into a captive market that serves Israeli companies and isolates it from Palestine.”

This is not the first time the Palestinian Authority has boycotted Israeli products as retaliation to an Israeli move. In February 2015, it decided to exclude six of the best-known Israeli brands from Palestinian stores following an Israeli decision to freeze the handover of tax and tariff revenues to the PA.

Another development discussed during the weekly governmental meeting was the suspected arson attack on Sunday at the West Bank home of a key witness in the Duma arson attack case, Ibrahim Dawabsheh.

The PA condemned the attack, saying: “The foot-dragging of the occupation authorities on arresting those who committed the atrocious Duma arson attack is pushing the settlers to commit more crimes against our people.”    (Jerusalem Post)

Israeli-Owned Innovation to Keep Fruit and Vegetables Fresher for Longer

A product designed and developed by an Israeli student that can prolong the life of fruit and vegetables for months will soon be launched onto the market.

Twenty-year-old Amit Gal-Or from Ra’anana, who now lives in Shanghai, established his Phresh company in 2015 when he decided to use old technology and Israeli research to benefit individual households.

The technology originated in research from over a decade ago at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev when an Israeli scientist sought ways to use oils to create organic preservative properties, Gal-Or explained to Tazpit Press Service (TPS).

“These oils have been known about for thousands of years, but they are very volatile and evaporate very rapidly so their effectiveness disappears very quickly. The researchers wanted to transform the preservative properties into a liquid or powder and then release it very slowly and therefore multiply its effectiveness,” he said.

Gal-Or and his team then set about combining past research to create a powder that does not need to be sprayed or applied to the produce to provide protection. Instead, the powder dissolves piecemeal and can preserve the produce for up to three times longer than usual. Using these powders for the household simply “made sense,” Gal-Or said.

“Strawberries, for example, usually go bad after three days, and yet we can keep them good for consumption for another four or five days. At the other extreme, there are things like eggplant and potatoes that last weeks. We can expand their life by months. Then you have everything in between,” he added.

Gal-Or said that Phresh will soon be launching an intensive e-commerce campaign and that the product is already expanding from China, where Gal-Or lives, into the United States, Europe, Japan, and Israel.               (Ynet News)

Brussels attacks won’t translate into more support for Israel

by  Herb Keinon                 The Jerusalem Post

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Analysis-Brussels-attacks-wont-translate-into-more-support-for-Israel-448882

It is unrealistic to expect that Tuesday’s terrorist atrocities in Belgium will in any significant way alter how either Belgium or the European Union view Israel.

Soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks struck the US, one of then-president George Bush’s first calls was to Ariel Sharon, pressing him to meet with Yasser Arafat.

Even as the second intifada was roiling Israel, Bush – according to US diplomat Dennis Ross, who told this story last week during a lecture in Jerusalem – was pressing Sharon to call Arafat.

Though Bush would never have dreamed of talking to those responsible for the terrorist attacks that hit his country, he was pressing Sharon to do so with the man responsible for the attacks striking his.

And the reason, Ross said, was because the president was prevailed upon by those in his administration who saw Israel more as problem than as partner, and whose arguments claimed that the US would be unable to enlist Arab countries in Bush’s war on terror unless Israel moved on the Palestinian track.

The tension between those who see Israel as a partner and those who see it as a problem is a common theme that has run through every US presidential administration since Harry Truman’s, Ross said. But if those who ascribe to the Israel- as-partner school of thought often get the upper hand in the US, in Europe many of the governments are in the grips of those feel that Israel is a problem.

For this reason, it is unrealistic to expect that Tuesday’s terrorist atrocities in Belgium will in any significant way alter how either Belgium or the European Union view Israel.

Anytime there is a major terrorist attack in a western country, there are those in Israel who think it will give the stricken country a different perception of what Israel faces, of its security concerns, and perhaps lead them to judge Israel more kindly or even alter negative policies toward the country.

But it never really happens.

Madrid was hit by a major terrorist attack in 2004, London in 2005 and Paris twice in 2014.

But none of those countries, nor the EU, changed their overall diplomatic stance toward Israel after those attacks.

France, for example, is now pushing forward a diplomatic initiative to restart the Israeli- Palestinian peace process – to which Israel is adamantly opposed – despite the attacks in Paris that some in Israel thought would cause the French to rethink their Mideast policies.

Experience has shown that after major terrorist attacks abroad, those who believe that the Israeli-Palestinian crisis is the source of much of the frustration, anger and despair fueling terrorism, believe it even more strongly.

While opinions of Israel may not be changing, major terrorist attacks do have a tendency to adjust the stricken country’s focus toward enhancing local security, and this has led some countries to closer security cooperation with Jerusalem.

After the November attack in Paris, the French special police unit carried out a raid and killed two terrorists in a suburb of the French capital. The commander of the unit said it “learned from the experiences of our friends as far as techniques used in places like Israel.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his address Tuesday to the AIPAC conference in Washington, said that high-level delegations from around the world fly into Ben-Gurion Airport each day to tap into Israel’s security expertise in fighting terrorism.

“As many of them confront the rise of militant Islam and its accompanying terrorism, they come to Israel to strengthen their security,” he said. “They wish to learn from Israel’s proven security and intelligence capabilities how to better protect their own people.”

And while the number of those delegations may increase because of Tuesday’s attacks, don’t expect this to lead to a dramatic shift in voting patterns on matters relating to Israel at the UN. It never has in the past.

Purim at the Kotel[1]

This information is compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman, Board Member of the Zionist Council of NSW