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November 19, 2014 12:34 pm

Terror Attacks Reignite Israeli Debate on Deploying Guards at Public Buildings

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Israel Police approval letter to private security firms. Photo: 0404 News.

Israel Police approval letter to private security firms. Photo: 0404 News.

Despite a growing wave of terror attacks, the head of Israel’s association of private security firms disagrees with latest government calls to re-install guards at public buildings and commercial businesses, Israel’s Ch.10 News said Wednesday.

“While it’s true that, as of yesterday, the headlines don’t give the public a sense of security,” Pinhas Shiff told the hosts of a morning talk show, “in times like these, when hysteria runs rampant, and the public security minister is … under political and public pressure, and internally, I’d presume they’d take measures that would not otherwise need to be implemented.”

“In the coming hours, I will ease restrictions on carrying weapons,” Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said on Tuesday shortly after a horrific terror attack by Palestinian terrorists against rabbis at prayer in Jerusalem left five dead and several others wounded.

In turn, the Israel Police approved a request by private security companies to allow guards to take home their weapons if they prefer, in order to get more firepower in the hands of trained personnel, and to serve as a deterrent to terror attacks, 0404 News revealed.

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“Indeed, we received a letter today that our guards can take their weapons home with them, due to the security situation,” one company official said.

The previous protocol, initiated a year ago, forced firms to collect the pistols and semi-automatic weapons at the end of each shift, in order to curb the possibility of criminal use, accidental discharge, and theft.

Former Tel Aviv District police chief, Yossi Sedbon, who also appeared on the talk show, told the hosts that the issue of re-deploying gate guards at schools and kindergartens was a complex issue, that couldn’t be solved with a blanket solution, such as demanding intercoms and CCTV’s to be installed across the city-funded and smaller privately-run facilities.

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino called the early morning attack at the otherwise tranquil Har Nof neighborhood’s Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue, “…one of the worst attacks we’ve seen in recent years,” and ordered the district police commanders to “prepare for any possibility of revenge attacks, price tags and nationally-motivated disturbances.”

At a press conference Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that he had “ordered the demolition of the homes of the terrorists who perpetrated the massacre and the hastening of the demolition of the homes of the terrorists who perpetrated the earlier attacks,” referring to several car ramming attacks against pedestrians in Jerusalem in recent weeks.

Netanyahu is set to convene his security cabinet Wednesday evening to assess the threat matrix, particularly in several Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem hit by ongoing rioting and clashes with police, including areas where the two cousins who carried out the latest attack lived.

In light of the hair-trigger tensions, Netanyahu called on Israelis “to show maximum alert and to respect the law. As a state, we will settle accounts with all of the terrorists and those who dispatched them. We have already proven that we do this, but let nobody take the law into his hands, even if tempers flare and blood boils.

“We are in a lengthy war against abhorrent terrorism which did not start today. Terrorism has followed us through all the years of the Zionist enterprise. We have always withstood it and we will do so this time as well,” according to the PM.

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