IDF Guards Replaced by Private Firms
In the latest in a series of decisions making Jewish life in Judea and Samaria more difficult, the army is leaving 40 towns.
The IDF is transferring the responsibility for protecting 40 Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) to private firms, and withdrawing protection altogether from ten others. The Yesha Council's Security Officer, Shlomo Vaknin, says, "The government is privatizing our security."
Recent decisions affecting the personal and communal safety in Yesha towns include the following:
- Cancellation of Mivtzar program, in which a local emergency response team is trained by the army, to be utilized in case of a terrorist infiltration or other such crisis. "Mivtzar was the ideal response to the threat on our towns," Vaknin explains. "The fighters know the area, are well-trained, and their presence here was permanent and binding. The towns near Gaza and in the north want to copy this program - yet here the army is cancelling it..."
- Collection of weapons from the communities. The army explains that weapons had been stolen from residents, and that any trained resident who wishes to obtain a gun can do so.
- Cancellation of subsidies for enforcing private cars' windows from rock attacks.
- Withdrawal of National Service girls from security headquarters in the towns.
- Cancellation of budgeted funding for protecting school buses for special-education and handicapped children against shooting attacks. "We will not be able to open the school year next year if a solution is not found," Vaknin warns.
- Cancellation of budgeted funding for running security vehicles. "Some towns simply cannot use their security vehicles anymore," Vaknin says.
In addition, many checkpoints at which Arabs are checked for - and often found to be carrying - weapons have been removed. Furthermore, permission has been granted for more Arab policemen to bear arms in PA-controlled cities, and some 20 armored vehicles will be transferred to PA control in the near future.
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