Only with “Enormous Political and Cultural Change” Can Europe Start Fighting Terror Effectively

Sept. 6 2017

The past few weeks have seen terrorist attacks from Finland to Spain, and such attacks are becoming increasingly common across the Continent. Drawing on the Israeli experience, Yaakov Amidror argues that European countries must fundamentally change their approach in order to confront the threat properly.

There are three areas that must be addressed to see major gains in the ability to battle terrorism. First, how the legal system views terrorism—particularly that it treats terrorism [as a kind of] crime, which plays into terrorists’ hands—must change. This is an enormous political and cultural change. . . . Implementing [it] is conditional on the political echelon telling itself and its citizens the truth, even [if this change] gives up a small part of citizens’ personal freedom.

The second effort needed is to focus intelligence work on the relevant communities. It appears that a lot has already been done in this field in recent years, but international cooperation must be improved and more aggressive interrogations must be permitted based on intelligence, before an [attack] is carried out. . . .

The third effort is more complicated and centers on [encouraging] ordinary citizens to respond quickly and aggressively when any terrorist action takes place. Israel has a clear advantage when it comes to this, because there are many citizens who are licensed to carry firearms and who can take action even before the police and the security forces arrive. Civilians carrying firearms are extremely unusual in many countries, so it will be difficult for these civilians to respond quickly, thus containing the damage of a terrorist act under way, whether it is a stabbing or drivers who use their vehicles as weapons of mass murder.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Europe, Israeli Security, Politics & Current Affairs, Terrorism


The Movement to Return Jewish Worship to the Temple Mount Has Gone Mainstream

Sept. 25 2017

During the eruption of violence against Israelis in Jerusalem this summer, and the subsequent struggle over metal detectors, the Islamic authorities briefly boycotted the Temple Mount. As a result, Jewish visitors, normally prohibited from praying there, immediately began to do so. Meir Soloveichik puts the episode in context and describes its meaning:

The Temple Mount is fast becoming a pilgrimage site for religious Jews. In the past, most abstained from visiting out of concern that they might enter a sacred area in a state of ritual impurity, but many now believe that, with a knowledge of the layout, history, and religious laws pertaining to the location, it is permissible to visit certain parts of the Temple Mount plaza. They thus visit the site under religious guidance—immersing first in a ritual bath, or mikveh—and tread only in specific areas. What was once a trickle of pilgrims has become a stream, and this year they numbered in the many thousands. . . .

[Indeed, a] sea change has taken place in the past fifteen years: . . . the segment of Jews visiting the Temple Mount is becoming more and more mainstream, supported by rabbis noted for their liberalism in social or religious affairs. . . .

Visiting Jews were, for a brief and brilliant moment [this summer], able to utter several words of prayer without interference. The Israeli media published photos of a diverse group of Jews standing on the Temple Mount reciting the kaddish, so close to where their ancestors, on Yom Kippur, had once stood listening to the high priest pronounce the Name of God. Soon after this kaddish, the [status quo ante] returned; Jews again were no longer free to pray at the site toward which all Jewish prayer has been directed for thousands of years. But images of that one unimpeded kaddish remain; to study them is to look back on the miraculous and heartbreaking past half-century in Jerusalem, to celebrate what has been achieved, and to mourn what might have been.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Judaism, Palestinian terror, Religion & Holidays, Temple Mount