Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Fear returns to Israeli streets

Lilach Shoval makes the point following the recent terrorist attacks in Beer Sheva, Hadera and Bnei Brak:
Tuesday's terrorist attack leaves no doubt that fear has returned to Israel's streets. In the three attacks that took place within the past week, 11 Israelis in three different central Israeli cities were killed. And yet, the Bnei Brak terrorist attack was somewhat different from those in Beersheba and Hadera, because the perpetrator was not an Arab Israeli, but a 27-year-old Palestinian, a resident of the Arab village of Ya'bad, who had previously managed to cross into Israel illegally.

Yes, the Shin Bet faces a significant legal barrier in monitoring Arab Israeli citizens, but it can in no way be a valid excuse when it comes to a Palestinian infiltrating Israel with weapons and carrying out a deadly attack in civilian population centers.

What highlights the failure further is that the defense establishment was aware of the terrorist, who had been imprisoned in Israel before, and should have been closely monitored by the Shin Bet, especially in light of recent events.

Until Tuesday night, the defense establishment hoped that the deadly attacks within the Green Line that had been carried out by Islamic State sympathizers would not motivate Palestinian copycat attacks, but prepared for this scenario nevertheless. This was one of the reasons the Israel Defense Forces decided earlier this week to reinforce four battalions in Judea and Samaria. The same reinforcement units were also assigned the mammoth task of reducing as much as possible the illegal crossing into Israeli territory.

The Shin Bet's difficulty comes as no surprise. For years, Israel has chosen to turn a blind eye to the breached security barrier, partly because illegal immigrants make a living in Israel, and the better the economic situation in Judea and Samaria, the fewer chances for a terrorist attack. But this has meant that easy access to Israel can be exploited by terrorists.
Many of the illegal immigrants in Israel were shielded by the leftist courts over past years, that too has resulted in serious damage to south Tel Aviv, in example. Just as disturbing are the businesses willing to employ interlopers.

The authorities have arrested several suspects in the terrorist attack in Bnei Brak, but coming after the tragedy rather than preventing it is not enough. Stronger security is needed to deal with these horrors, and the Bennett/Lapid government is not qualified for the job.

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