Ex-leader of Belgian Jews: Belgium’s airports need Israel-style security

(JTA) – A prominent Belgian activist against anti-Semitism called on his government to follow Israel’s lead in airport security after a series of attacks killed 34 people in Brussels.

Joel Rubinfeld, founder of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism and a former president of the CCJOB umbrella group representing French-speaking Belgian Jews, urged authorities to emulate Israel in an interview with JTA on Tuesday, after bombs went off at Zaventem Airport and a metro station.

Calling the free access to the terminal at Zaventem “a security problem,” Rubinfeld said: “We need to rethink on a European level and draw lessons, for example, from counterterrorist measures in Israel, where one is interviewed by police at a checkpoint one kilometre away from the airport – at a safe distance.”

Separately, Pini Schiff, a former security director at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, which is considered among the most secure in the world, said the attacks at the Brussels airport mark “a colossal failure” of Belgian security and that “the chances are very low” such a bombing could have happened in Israel, The Associated Press reported.

The attacks, for which the Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility, came four days after Belgian police arrested Salah Abdeslam, a 26-year-old French Islamist whom authorities suspect had a key role in the series of deadly attacks that killed 130 people in Paris in November, in Brussels.

In recent years, several perpetrators of terrorist attacks against non-Jewish targets went on to target Jews.

Asked whether he has full confidence in the authorities’ ability to stop future attacks, Rubinfeld said security around Jewish institutions was “seriously beefed up” following the slaying of four people at Brussels’ Jewish Museum of Belgium, which had been unguarded.

“I wouldn’t say I have full confidence,” he said, “but the authorities have taken robust steps to secure Jewish sites.”

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