Israel

Over 50 Police Officials from 12 U.S. States Arrive in Israel for Counterterror Training

A delegation of 52 American law-enforcement officers from 12 states, has arrived in Israel for the second consecutive year to train in counterterrorism tactics together with their Israeli counterparts.

During their stay, the United States delegation is housed at the Beit Shemesh police academy, where officers will meet with special combat units, train in counterterrorism techniques, and be addressed by Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, The Jerusalem Post reported Tuesday.

The delegation is set to return to the U.S. after a September 11 memorial service to be held at the 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza in the Arazim Valley.

Michael Safris, chief of the Essex County’s Sheriff’s Office Deputy Division, who is Jewish said he has visited Israel 40 times and, in return, hosted numerous Israeli police delegation in the U.S. over the past ten years.

“From all my trips, I know the delegation forms an important relationship, and if something happens in the U.S. or something happens here, we stay in touch and honor each country’s fallen officers,” Safris said. “The relationship and comradery developed over the last two years is one of the reasons we keep coming,” he added.

Safri also explained how the struggle for survival sets Israeli police apart from other forces in the world. “In our communities, for a lot of police officers, it’s a job,” he said, adding that “I think that it’s more than a job for a lot of the officers in Israel because they are protecting their homeland.”

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld echoed Safris’ sentiment and highlighted how the hostile environment makes Israel the ideal location to train in the counterterrorism field.

“In terms of counterterrorism tactics that have been used and implemented at numerous scenes across the country, where unfortunately terrorist attacks have taken place, the Israeli police have used those tactics to minimize injuries, as well as find rapid solutions,” Rosenfeld said.

He added that “over the next few days, the Police Unity Tour will learn and see a number of these tactics across the country.”

The U.S. and Israel enjoy a regular exchange of law-enforcement delegations and participants have stressed the benefit of close cooperation with Israeli professionals in the areas of domestic counter-terrorism practices and first response to terrorist attacks.

Israel has been praised in the past by leading anti-terror practitioners for pioneering in the field.  Europe should look to Israel as “a welcome guide in navigating the difficult moral, legal and tactical terrain ahead,” Lord David Trimble, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Robert Quick, a former assistant commissioner at London’s Metropolitan Police, wrote in The Daily Telegraph last year. “One country fits this bill better than most – no democratic nation has endured Islamist terrorism to the extent that Israel has,” the pair added.

[Photo: Israeli Police Spokesperson’s Unit]