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March 17, 2021 12:43 pm

Israel’s Homeland Security Is Collapsing

avatar by Yoel Zilberman

Opinion

A view of Ein Avdat in the Zin Valley of the Negev Desert. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

From its establishment to the present day, Israel is a country that has invested its efforts in the security of its borders against surrounding countries. Countless efforts have been made to develop technologies and capabilities that have, at all times, preserved the military and defensive superiority of the State of Israel in the face of the non-stop threats that it faces.

At the same time, a clear outlook also developed — that military operations can be contained by on-duty forces in the short term, but that war can only be won by reservists. It is not by chance that the ratio of reservists and regular personnel is one regular person for every four reservists. Reservists are the most caring, and also the most influential, population in times of emergency, as history teaches.

But given that the State of Israel knows how to successfully defend its borders, how can we explain the failure in protecting its homeland security?

The state of violence prevailing in almost every aspect of our life has become an existential issue.

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It is now routine that thousands of businesses have to pay “protection money” to criminals; frequent murders are happening in Arab society, and women are frequent victims; illegal construction now amounts to an incalculable number of buildings; an unimaginable amount of illegal weapons are found in our society; there is terrorism and agricultural theft in huge quantities; and, in practice, there is almost no police presence or enforcement of any kind in many areas, especially in the Negev.

The absurdity of the situation is that while the IDF is leading complex operations elsewhere, it is losing control over several hundred acres in its strategic areas, and weapons and ammunition are being stolen that could supply entire brigades.

This situation will lead us to disaster. Domestic security challenges are a national priority, and we must focus on them intensively for at least the next 10 years.

We must dramatically increase the number of police officers. Due to attrition and a tremendous shortage of manpower, a volunteer/reserve system should be set up from the age of 38 to 70, reaching 12 to 18 days of activity per year, similar to the military model. Presence must be generated in all parts of the country, and at all hours of the day. The voluntary return of illegal weapons to the police must be allowed, and if a person with an illegal weapon is later caught, he or she should be arrested immediately.

The courts also need to go through a revision of their own, and criminals must be punished according to the law and public safety, and not be released within 24 hours at best.

Crimes are increasing, with the culprits becoming ever more daring, which means that the worst of it lies ahead. Israel must act.

The author is the founder and CEO of Hashomer HaChadash.

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