Security at Synagogues

When my wife was the Executive Director of a Synagogue (Beth El of Montgomery County) in MD, USA, they installed a security system.  It was quite simple, but effective.  There was a bullet proof glass window in the office that surveyed the entrance lobby with an intercom.  The inner doors were controlled by a security switch so that they remained locked unless someone actively depressed a red button inside the office. This was installed to primarily prevent homeless people wandering in, some of whom were on drugs and were unstable.

ln one case a man who was dishevelled and dirty came in and wanted to enter the synagogue.  My wife called the rabbi and he went out to talk to him, it turned out he was Jewish and wanted to sit in the synagogue.  They let him clean up and gave him a meal and he came back a few times.  But, usually they were begging and they had to institute a policy of not giving money, otherwise all the beggars in DC would get on the Metro and come out to get a hand-out.  The problem with this kind of vetting is that it breaks down when there are many people entering at once, as on Shabbat.

One of the other parts of the security system was of course a series of motion detectors inside the shool.  Unfortunately this often went off in the middle of the night, and my wife was afraid to go by herself, so I had to accompany her, and meet the police outside and then go in with them.  Fortunately they were all false alarms.  The company said the problem was that the system was so sensitive that it would pick up the movement of mice or cockroaches.  I was glad when she left that job.

About having guards, as Pres. Trump suggests, apart from the cost, it is also not very effective. A determined man with a gun can take a guard by surprise and cut him down, although this would act as a warning to those inside.  Even having a  lay person patrolling at the door is a good thing, because when a potential attacker sees someone patrolling outside, he doesn’t know if they have a gun or not and might move somewhere else, to choose a softer target.  This is what happened with the terrorist who blew himself up in the Park Hotel in Netanya in 2002.  At first his driver took him to Tel Aviv, but all the hotels there had guards, so he said let’s go to Netanya, and they saw the Park Hotel did not have a guard on duty, actually he was sitting at the back of the lobby, and the terrorist walked in and blew himself up in the dining room.  There are no guarantees against such immoral craziness.




Attacks in the the US

Within days of the bomb scare of 13 packages being mailed to prominent Democrats in the US, including ex-Pres Obama and Hillary Clinton, there has been a shooting in a Conservative synagogue in the Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hills in Pittsburgh.  At times like these we are so glad that we have effective and proactive police forces and FBI.

In the case of the bomb mailings, the FBI was able to identify the criminal who mailed them from one fingerprint and two DNA samples from the intact packages.  Either these packages were not intended to actually explode, but largely to scare and intimidate, or the perpetrator was incompetent, since none of them exploded and no one was actually hurt.  Within a day the  perpetrator was identified as 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc from near Miami Florida, with ties to NY City, and a previous criminal record.  He was taken into custody in Florida and his van was taken for investigation.  Democrats accusing Pres. Trump of being responsible for these bombs is way out of line. On the contrary, he has directly and sternly condemned them

In the synagogue shooting, the shooter murdered members of the congregation (currently estimated at 11) and injured another 12, including three police officers who went to the scene.  The shooter was captured and has been identified as a white male aged 46 named Robert Bowers.  Pres. Trump called him a “wacko,” but that is not nearly serious enough.  This man no doubt had political and/or anti-Semitic motives, and is likely inspired by the current wave of anti-Semitism sweeping the Western world, using anti-Israel bias as an excuse.  Whether or not he acted now because of the bomb scares, or quite independently we shall soon know.  But there is no doubt that the continued false accusations of the BDS and other pro-Palestinian movements in the US and Europe are leading to a lower tolerance for anti-Semitism, that doesn’t need much excuse to continue murdering Jews.

This might lead to an increase in emigration (aliyah) of young Jews to Israel, and it might have a back-lash against such hate-crimes.  But, taking the long perspective, it is more of the same, the killing of Jews that has always been happening.

Border Skirmishes

For months Palestinian mobs in Gaza have been attacking the Israeli border with stones, burning tires, rockets and gunfire.  Some people, like Jeremy Corbyn, claim that these are “peaceful demonstrations,” bullshit!  Even a cursory glance at the videos show them as extremely violent skirmishes with the intention of breaching the border and pouring into Israel to cause mayhem and death.  Only those who believe the Palestinians can do no wrong because Israel is a “colonialist, apartheid regime” can support such attacks.

They are called “the march of return,” but this is futile because these violent elements will never get into Israel or be allowed to “return”.  How many of them are in fact so-called refugees?  Precious few, since they would have to be now at least 70 years old, and the majority of the mob are young men out for violent action.  The whole process is really a performance created by Hamas, the Islamist terrorist organization, to gain PR.  For them the more people and the more children killed the better, they care nothing (like ISIS and Hezbollah) for the lives of their own people, as long as it keeps them in the headlines.

Israel has announced many times that they will not allow our border to be breached by a mob.  No country would allow this, certainly not the US or UK (what would Corbyn do if he were PM, would he open the border at Dover to all illegal immigrants?)  The IDF is guarding the border and will use live fire when necessary.  So it is not surprising that in yesterday’s violent attack 7 people were killed and several injured.  They have been warned.  If they want to make this sacrifice for their futile cause, so be it!  We’ll accommodate them.

On a political level, the cause of “return” 70 years after the event of their voluntarily leaving, is ridiculous.  Nowhere in the world are the descendants of refugees themselves considered to be refugees, no one has a “right of return” its a propaganda fiction, that many liberals are conned into believing.  Let them continue to “march” and throw themselves at the border, it is a futile exercise fit only for the insane and the brain-washed.

Meanwhile a dispute had developed between Hamas in Gaza and Pres. Abbas and the PA on the West Bank, because he refused to pay Israel for the gas being piped into Gaza.  So the supply was stopped,  The Qatar stepped in and agreed to pay for it, so against the PA’s wishes Israel started to supply the gas to Gaza again.  But, today after the severe riots at the border Defense Minster Avigdor Lieberman announced that Israel will stop the supply until the rioting stops.  Thai is a good decision, many people consider it strange that Israel should supply gas, water, electricity, food and medicine to its enemy that is attacking us continuously.  Now there is a price to pay for these border skirmishes.

Attacking Coexistence

On Sunday morning a Palestinian Arab terrorist entered the Alon factory at the Barkan industrial park in the middle of Samaria (Shomron) and shot dead two young Israeli Jews and wounded a third.  Then he ran from the scene and is currently being sought by the IDF.  The two murdered Israelis were Ziv Hajbi, a 39 year-old father of 3 from Rishon LeZion and Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel a mother of a one year old baby from Rosh Ha’ayin.  Ziv’s mother said “my son left for work, not for war!”

They were two of the many Jews from Israel who worked at the Barkan park, which is one of the few places where Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs work peacefully together.  In Barkan there are 164 factories, with 3,000 Israelis and 4,200 Palestinians.  It is one of the few places in Samaria where Palestinian Arabs can get decent jobs.  The killer has been identified from photographs from security cameras as Suleiman Na’alwah, 23, from, the nearby village of Shuweika.  Presumably he is a member of Hamas.

This was not only the murder of two Jews by a Palestinian terrorist, but it was also a strike by the Arab terrorist organizations against the coexistence that is being built there.  They don’t want peaceful coexistence, they don’t want economic development, they don’t want their fellow Palestinian Arabs to be working with Israelis, they are against normalization and against peace.  Those misguided and hateful Western liberals who are supporting the fascist party of war, hatred, murder and genocide are totally wrong.  They are prepared to oppose peace and coexistence for their illusory misconception that Israel is an “apartheid,” “racist,” “colonialist” state.  Barkan was and is a small illustration of what can be accomplished when Arabs and Jews work together.  The owners of Alon and Barkan have said they will not be deterred from their path by the murder and hatred of Palestinian Arab terror.

My only question is, why was there not better security so that a Palestinian Arab could enter the facility with a gun.  This was far from the first such attack, several years ago this industrial site was partially destroyed in a deliberately set fire.  The owners must have much better security to protect their Israeli workers from the attacks of the armed terrorists, just as they need to do in London, Paris, Berlin, and Jerusalem.

The Murder of Ari Fuld

A 17-year-old Palestinian youth stabbed Ari Fuld, 45, father of four, to death in a Mall at the Gush Etzion junction on Sunday.  This is an area where Israelis and Palestinians regularly mix (there is no apartheid, if there was the Israeli death toll would be much less).  Ari, a well-known rabbi and Israel advocate, although stabbed in the back, chased his assailant, pulled his gun (necessary in those parts) and shot the perpetrator.  He is Khalil Yusuf Ali Jabarin, from the town of Jatta near Hebron.  He was injured and was taken into custody by Israeli authorities.  Fuld later died of bleeding from his wound.  He was a dual Israeli-US citizen.  Both the US and EU condemned this terrorist attack.

Although we call these “lone wolf” attacks, I fail to believe that a 17-year-old boy simply decides one day to go to a Mall and stab a Jew.  He must have received training and motivation from a terrorist organization. He must have been told when and where to attack.  He carried a long knife used only for murder.  Further, the culture of the Palestinians and of their leaders supports an atmosphere of murder of Jews.  The PA media played down the incident and reported it as “Occupation injures a boy South of Bethlehem.”  This is a typical media distortion that many pro-Palestinians in the West will believe.

The PA announced only a day after the murder that the family of Jabarin will receive NIS 1,400 ($400) per month for 3 years.  If this isn’t support of terrorism what is?  Also, where does the money come from, the PA depends entirely on foreign aid from the US, EU and other countries (not much from the Arabs).  So your tax dollars are being used to fund Palestinian terrorists murdering Jews.  There is a bill being prepared before the Israeli Knesset to deduct such payments from any tax revenues that Israel owes the PA .

Also, the IDF announced it is preparing to demolish the family home of the killer.  Call this revenge or call it a justified punitive method that Israel inherited from the British, but it is one of the few measures that Israel can take to let the Palestinian people know that we won’t tolerate these attacks.  If we were like the Burmese, Syrians, Iraqis or most other countries in the world, there would be massive retaliation against the civilian population.  But, Israel doesn’t do this, although we easily could, because we are civilized.  But, there comes a point when even a civilized country must protect itself against this form of terror attack by all necessary means.

Corbyn’s Bias

A great deal has been made of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-semitism.  I am not so concerned about that.  After all he represents a party that supposedly caters to the working class in the UK, and from my experience growing up there, the working class in the UK is endemically anti-semitic. Not that the upper classes are not, but they at least are more polite and subtle about it.

Also, Labor increasingly comes to represent the immigrant groups from Africa and Asia, but mainly Muslims from Pakistan.  There are now Pakistani Muslim Brits at all levels of the Labour Party, and some of them have been openly anti-semitic and anti-Israel.  So it is not surprising that the rank and file of the Labour Party would choose someone like themselves to represent them as their leader.

No, what is really worrying and indeed unacceptable in a British leader is that Corbyn has allowed his animus towards Jews to influence his political ideology so much that he has repeatedly called Haimas and Hezbollah his “friends”.  Let’s remember that these are terrorist organizations, involved in murdering innocent civilians in many countries.  Further, they are recognized as terrorist organizations by the UN, the US and importantly by Britain.  As a friend of these terrorist organizations, as well as the BDS boycott movement against Israel, Corbyn should be on an MI5 watch-list.  He has shared stages on numerous occasions with known terrorists, who not only call for the destruction of Israel and the victory of Islamism, but have also themselves participated in the planning and carrying out of terrorist attacks.

They may not be al Qaeda or IS, but I challenge anyone to show me the basic difference between their ideologies.  The increasing tempo of lone wolf attacks in Western Europe, including in France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Sweden and Britain, are carried out by a sick ideology that believes that killing infidels in their homelands will bring about the religious war that will result in the victory of Islam in all of Europe and then the world.  The sick thing about this is that the leader of the British Labour Party is on their side!

Could 9/11 Have Been Prevented?

A 2015 docudrama entitled “A Good American,” written, produced and directed by Friedrich Moser in Austria, exposes the world of the US National Security Agency (NSA) and claims that 9/11 could have been prevented.  This film based on true events, with interviews with real people, tells the story of Bill Binney and several of his colleagues, who worked at the NSA and were eventually fired.  Here is a brief summary of this explosive story.

Bill Binney was a mathematician and a brilliant data analyst, who early on saw that what mattered in decrypting masses of information was not what people were saying to each other, that is the content of a communication, but rather the analysis of the traffic, i.e. who was talking to whom, how often and from where to where. By analyzing this kind of information, he and others warned of the Tet offensive by the Communist Viet Cong in 1968, but due to “the arrogance of power” it was ignored by the US military in Vietnam.  He was then able to establish a structure of the Russian military command from traffic analysis, before the advent of real computers, and he was able to predict the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 months before it occurred.  Typically his warning was also ignored.

However, his work got him a job in the NSA, where he was given the task of expanding on his method of analysis.  He established a small group and continued his approach of traffic analysis using raw date that was pouring into the NSA from many sources.  At that time the work of NSA involved mainly total data capture and analysis for selected “red flags.”  For example, the use of the word “revolution” might be searched for, and then in each case the conversation would have to be analyzed for its security threat, to distinguish between someone using the word “revolution” to mean let’s start a revolution against the US government, from someone who was talking about turntable speed, i.e revolutions per minute.  This type of analysis involved a great deal of man hours, so much so that the NSA analysts were literally drowning in data.

The NSA had fallen woefully behind in computer technology, and so a new Director was appointed to update the agency, he was Gen. Michael Hayden.  He decided on a new program called “Trailblazer” that would gradually update the hardware at NSA but basically continue the established analysis approach.  The new computer hardware cost billions of dollars, and brought in even more data, thus preventing the NSA from actually doing its job effectively.

Meanwhile Bill Binney’s group had developed a program called ThinThread based on algorithms developed by them, that he showed using NSA raw data could identify groups (networks) constituting real security threats in real-time.  Not only was this traffic analysis approach far faster than the”content analysis approach, and was independent of language, but it was also much cheaper.  However, the leadership of the NSA rejected this approach,.  How could 6 people with a small computer do anything better than 500 analysts with lots of huge computers? Ultimately Bill and his group were prevented from further developing their approach and eventually were fired.  Trailblazer was used to analyze communications between US citizens and lacked the personal protections that had been included in ThinThread.  It was this kind of unlawful intrusion into the lives of innocent US citizens that led to the actions of whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

The failure of the NSA to predict the 9/11 attack, after the previous 1993 attack on the Twin Towers and the known threats emanating from al Qaeda, was one of the worst mistakes in US history, and led to the deaths of nearly 3,000 American and other citizens. Later Bill and his colleagues used ThinThread to analyze data that was actually already in the NSA system, and were able to show that they could have predicted the 9/11 attack before it happened from traffic analysis stretching from Afghanistan thru Hamburg and several US cities.

Bill and his colleagues set up a private company that tried to use ThinThread for other US Government agencies.  But by this time the NSA was so defensive in trying to cover up their terrible blunder that they intervened in every case and got the contracts and contacts cancelled.  Then one day FBI agents burst into the homes of several of the group, including Bill, co-worker Ed Loomis, and Diane Roark, who had worked for the Congress and had been convinced of ThinThread’s superiority to Trailblazer. They were arrested at gunpoint.  But, when it came to trial the case was thrown out by the judge for fabrication of evidence by the NSA.

So let’s remember Bill Binney and his colleagues.  They were trailblazing analysts who saw the superiority of traffic analysis, and who were whistle-blowers long before anyone else.  They showed that the NSA was corrupt, incompetent and more interested in bringing in funds than doing its job of  protecting the American people. And above all Bill Binney was a very good American.  And by the way, Gen. Hayden was promoted and became head of the CIA.