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August 17, 2014 5:12 pm

Israeli Bus Drivers’ New Role: Frisking Suspicious Passengers

avatar by Dave Bender

An Israeli bus. Photo: Wikipedia.

Israeli public bus drivers, already accustomed to ticketing and making change, arguing with passengers, avoiding Gaza rocket fire, and all while providing valuable and voluminous social and political commentary at 90 kilometers per hour, now have a new role: security guard.

As of Monday, the Ministry of Transportation will require drivers to take a short course as security guards, a measure “that will aid public security,” according to Minister Yisrael Katz, Israel’s Channel Two News reported Sunday.

The drivers will also be deputized to stop, search and inspect the bags of suspicious riders, and detain them until police arrive, according to the report.

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During Israel’s current Operation Protective Edge, drivers throughout the south also had to deal with safely ferrying passengers under rocket and mortar fire, including mastering pulling to a safe stop in seconds and getting passengers down on the floor to reduce possible injury from shrapnel, and flying glass.

“The anti-terror workshop will enable drivers to better deal with attempted terror attacks,” Katz said of the new plan.

Drivers for the Dan North company will be the first to undergo the training, which also includes a self-defense course, and instructions on identifying suspicious behavior, as well as their rights and responsibilities towards the traveling public.

Palestinian terrorists affiliated with Hamas, Fatah, and other groups have perpetrated dozens of terror bombings and other violent attacks since the 1990s, killing hundreds of Israelis. In 2004, after a series of particularly grisly attacks, the Egged bus cooperative tested out one-way turnstiles to enter and exit the vehicles, an idea which was later dropped due to technical issues, and inconvenience for innocent passengers.

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