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Texas School Shooting: Can Israeli School Safety Methods Serve as a Model for US Schools?

Texas School Shooting: Can Israeli School Safety Methods Serve as a Model for US Schools?

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School shootings in Israel are rare, and the Jewish state’s preventive security measures can be a useful starting point for improving school safety in the US. that left 19 students and two teachers dead at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

There have been six terrorist attacks on Israeli schools since 1974. This low number can be explained by the multiple layers of security Israel employs and the engagement of civil society in helping the country’s law enforcement.

A public school in Jerusalem, Israel.
(Fox News Digital)

David Hazony, a writer and commentator on Israeli and American affairs and a father of eleven, told Fox News Digital that the country “strives to identify potential abusers through behavioral profiling.”

Israel could not avoid attacks if its efforts were based solely on armed security at each school, he said. Israel “invests heavily in monitoring people’s profiles,” Hazony continued.

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He has a “complex, multi-layered approach” to security that uses intelligence networks to scrutinize weapons acquisition and social media activity, he said.

Yigal Arbiv, who was responsible for security at Tchernichovsky Junior High School in the Israeli coastal town of Netanya for 16 years, told Fox News Digital that it is important that the “head of security [for a school] have authorization to do everything” to make children and employees safe.

Arbiv, who has 27 years of military and security experience, said his system employed an “observer 50 meters from the school” who patrolled the area and kept an eye on it. Visitors to the school “could only come from one direction,” he said.

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A fence surrounds the school and cameras are installed throughout the facility. “Hot spots” can be manually activated when a problem arises, sending a message to the head of security and staff, said Arbiv, who now runs the Israeli firm Krav Maga & Security Training (IKMA).

“Everyone who enters the school has to go through a metal detector, like at an airport, and sign their name,” the security expert said, adding that “the school has an exit and an entrance… head of security knowing that. We don’t allow people not connected to the school to enter.”

There are also “barricades around the school, so people cannot enter it,” he said. Palestinian terrorists used vehicles to carry out attacks in Israel.

Arbiv, who said he has trained police officers in the US, added that a large school complex also requires a guard on a motorcycle.

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An Israeli police officer works at the scene after an incident in Elad, central Israel, May 5, 2022.

An Israeli police officer works at the scene after an incident in Elad, central Israel, May 5, 2022.
(Reuters/Ammar Award)

Another idea that is gaining traction is a voluntary force to add more security to schools. Leading this effort is Brig. Gen. (Res.) Amir Avivi, founder and CEO of the NGO Israel Defense and Security Forum (IDSF). He told Fox News Digital that “in every school in Israel you have a guard at the entrance monitoring people who come in.”

Avivi highlighted the multiple layers of security Israel uses to prevent attacks on schools, including the domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet, which is “responsible for monitoring potential terrorist attacks and social media.”

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He said the Shin Bet is the US equivalent of the FBI and employs agents whose “skills are impressive. They have different and sophisticated ways of collecting artificial intelligence and cyber intelligence.”

His organization recently launched an innovative program with the Israeli national police force, as well as the country’s Border Police, to strengthen school security.

“We have seen terrorist attacks and the uprising of Arab society in Israel last year [during the 11-day war with Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip]”, said Avivi, who added that the IDSF is recruiting volunteers to help the Border Police and Police with school security. “In one day, we recruited 500 people, half the people needed.”

A school bag stands in front of a school in the coastal town of Netanya, in central Israel.  (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

A school bag stands in front of a school in the coastal town of Netanya, in central Israel. (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The police retain control and responsibility for training the volunteer brigade. “The Border Police felt they lacked the marketing capacity to reach volunteers. Our organization is active on social media and we were asked to start a campaign to get volunteers,” said Avivi.

The IDSF is made up of “3,000 reserve officers and agents from all branches of the Israeli security forces” who seek to ensure the safety of all citizens, young and old.

Avivi said: “We need something like 100,000 volunteers. Every journey starts with the first step. The prime minister is talking about 30,000. We think it needs to be faster. This is the discussion we are having with the government and the lessons from the Last year’s disturbances should have been learned more quickly. We definitely need to reallocate more budgets to the Border Police and volunteers.”

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This month, amid escalating terrorist attacks, Israel’s prime minister announced a plan to form a civil guard to combat terrorism.

Avivi noted that “Israeli civil society understands the government’s shortcomings, and civil society is helping” and emphasized that the volunteers are not a “watchdog” or “militia” force, but will be under the strict control of the Border Police.

“They will be trained and equipped by Border Police agents and will work in various areas, including schools,” he said. Avivi said the program is an “example of how civil society can help government institutions provide security.”

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