42 counter-strategy would be setting and sticking to a firm policy that would deal decisively with infringements of the rule of law. The other key component of a successful strategy is for the authorities to understand the radicals as much as they can—their faith, mentality, background, history, and ideology. The West Bank is the main problem area when it comes to law enforcement. The rule of law needs to be enforced there as it is inside Israel proper. Among the first things that would need to happen there is for the army, which has a much larger presence on the ground than the police, to take a more active role in cracking down on Israeli citizens who carry out violent acts. Soldiers should be instructed to intervene when it comes to assaults on Palestinians and take suspects to the closest police station so investigations can begin. Currently the army focuses on a policy of “securing the area,” but does little to protect the local Palestinian population. The police and army need to work as closely as possible inside Israel proper and in the West Bank—a physical presence on the ground backed by arrests and investigations when needed can send a powerful message. The police and army also have to coordinate closely with Shin Bet. All three bodies need to share intelligence and coordinate investigations and operations. Following more effective investigations the public also needs to know that the end result will be harsher punishments. Just as Palestinian or Arab Israeli threats are closely monitored and prosecuted, so, too, should threats from the radical Jewish sector. Key to any counter-strategy would be outreach to the moderates in Israel’s national religious sector. Their voice needs to be strengthened in their communities; otherwise, space is left for the extremists to fill the void. A dialogue between the authorities and the moderates can also help raise the profile and prestige of the moderates. The more the moderates feel involved and valued by the state, the more they will act to help preserve its stature in their communities. Coordinating with the moderates also provides valuable information and insights into their communities—what is driving them, what is frustrating them, etc. Moderate rabbis, teachers, and community leaders have the best chance of reaching out to their youth, especially the potentially dangerous disaffected ones, showing them that there are alternatives to embracing a radical ideology. In the meantime, those yeshivas or institutions that receive state-funding but preach violence and radical acts against the state should have their budgets cut off. Because intelligence gathering is often cited as a major problem for the security service, strengthening of legislation such as wire-tapping provisions should perhaps be considered in some cases. State of the art technology for both monitoring those deemed
dangerous suspects and for protecting important sites will also be important in the future. For example, the mosques on the Temple Mount need to be guarded not just with standard police and army forces but with top security technology. Finally, a strict procedure for the licensing of weapons, specifically automatic weapons, should be in place across Israel—including the West Bank, where it is considered easier to get a license for a weapon. Already the community there is heavily armed, which poses the threat of local militias in the future.
Published on Jul 23, 2010