Chief Inspector Micky Rosenfeld, the Israel Police spokesperson for foreign press, was in Ottawa, September 10, for a security briefing to the community organized by the Jewish National Fund of Ottawa at Congregation Beit Tikvah.
Rosenfeld spoke about the various threats and challenges Israel Police face on a daily basis and discussed how they meet those threats and challenges.
“Intelligence operations take place 24/7,” he said, “and the flow of information is constant.”
In recent years, he said, the police have gained a “huge advantage in intelligence technology. Using tracking devices, we can now identify and arrest terrorists even before they enter Israel.”
Rosenfeld said there is ongoing cooperation and coordination between different units, departments and institutions in Israel, including the police, Israel Defense Forces, municipalities, and Magen David Adom, as well as international forces.
He said events in Israel will sometimes have an impact throughout the Middle East and pointed to the unrest this summer at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem following implementation of security measures following a terrorist attack there.
What started with unorganized terrorists from a small Arab-Israeli village in Northern Israel almost blew-up the entire Arab and Muslim world, he said.
For this reason, Rosenfeld explained, police work closely with community and religious leaders in Israeli-Arab villages as “this is the only way to see exactly what’s going on the ground; by shaking people’s hands and looking in their eyes.”
“Since October 2015,” Rosenfeld said, “there have been 320 knife, shooting and vehicle attacks by lone wolf terrorists who are not part of formal or organized groups.” Israel Police, he said, need to profile who the next potential terrorist is before an attack.
Among the causes for lone wolf attacks, he said, is incitement posted on social media, and misinformation spread by Palestinian public figures.
“We must put out a press release about an operation within five minutes,” he said, to counteract such misinformation.
Despite ongoing threats of lone wolf terrorism, “Israel is very safe,” Rosenfeld said.
Responding to a question from the audience, Rosenfeld said terrorist attacks like the Sbarro restaurant attack in Jerusalem in 2001 don’t happen anymore because the planning needed to execute such terrorist operations cannot withstand the layers of security that now exist.