Monday, March 12, 2012

Credit, where it is due

Credit where it is due

This March marks tens years since one of the most horrid attacks and massacres that occurred during the Intifada or the War of 2000. This "uprising" or more accurately war, as some like to call it has actually yet to end. It is a war of ups and downs. The particular incident I am referring to is the attack at Wadi Haramiya, " the Valley of the Thieves". This particular attack occurred approximately 22 miles north of Jerusalem on road 60, known to us as the Way of the Patriarchs, between the communities of Ofra and Shilo. This attack claimed the lives of ten people, twelve were badly wounded, and many others scared for life.

It has become infamous, and is used today as an example for both the good and bad.

Where as this attack showed how dangerous our roads could be, it also showed how well our forces, both civilian and military could cooperate and work together to not only fight our enemies, but to provide first response, both tactical and medical.

It also showed the value that Jews from around the world play in the safety and protection of our people in Israel.

An example of that would be:

Bullet Proof vans donated by communities in the US, that found themselves in the line of fire, saved lives by providing cover from the deadly accurate fire of a sniper.

Bulletproof vests provided the minimum of protection to many of those who responded.

Medical equipment provided to both medics and ambulances was put quickly to use by medics who did not fear working under fire.

And optics enabled some to respond in a way only a terrorist would understand, ending his spree before he could do more damage.

If I sound too emotional about this incident it is because I was there, I remember the bodies, I remember the blood, I remember the heroes, I was RavShatz Shilo.

Those that are charged with first response throughout Judea and Samaria are called "RavShatz" or Military Security Coordinator. They and there teams work 24/7 keeping their communities safe. Be it the every day traveler, the farmer, the industrialist, the Security teams with the "RavShatz" at their head work hand in hand with the IDF, to provide this basic human right of security and saftey.

This special group is nothing new, they have been doing it for over 30 years. The renewed concept was set up when new Jewish communities started up throughout the Galil and Judea and Samaria.

The only differences between the groups is that the teams in Judea and Samaria were operating in coordination and under orders of the IDF due to the area is under military rule, the Galil being under normal police jurisdiction operates differently. Of course the threat factor is very different today, those in Judea and Samaria main challenge is their fight against terror and murder, whereas their contemporaries and volunteers in the Galil contend with theft and agricultural sabotage.

I admit the topic is personal to me, as I served as the Security Coordinator of the Shilo region between the years 1996- 2006, the high time of the Intifada. Almost everyday from September 2000, I had to deal with various means of terror attacks, eventually slowing down as the years went on.

This lack of notice of difference between the two goes on today, as we watch Jewish organizations throughout the world pay homage to others who have stepped up to do the job that police should have been doing in the Galil and Negev. Indeed, recollections of good old Zionist values are spoken of, as funds are showered, and podiums offered.

Yet this group of heroes who stop terror and put their lives daily on the line continues on in the shadows, barely recognized or appreciated by mainstream Jewish groups.

This piece is not being written out of envy, and by no means is it being written to downplay the value of a group working to strengthen our presence in the Galil in the face of continuing threats and challenges by the Arabs who terrorize and vandalize our farmers in the north. I might add in doing work that the police should be doing.

It is being written so that proper credit is given where it is due, to acknowledge and to educate, and to honor the hundreds who put there lives in front of so many others, most of whom they don't even know.

Ten years ago, we in the security establishment saw how working together as one proved to be a win-win situation. Furthermore we saw when working in tandem with Jewish communities throughout the world, we were able to save more Jewish lives and provide more of a secure atmosphere to those who have continued the Zionist dream that many of us were brought up with.

The world too has benefitted from this combination, this win-win scenario of unity, as new strategies and technologies came about that combat worldwide terror today.

We have not forgotten the "RavShatz" and his security and medical teams of Judea and Samaria, we never have and will continue to strengthen them and their teams and their heroic and superhuman efforts they make for all of us, all of our people.

One Israel Fund is proud to be apart of this, as being the first and foremost organization that these brave souls could always turn to in their, and our times of need.

After 18 years, “Chai” (Life) One Israel Fund remains that same organization, who will stand shoulder to shoulder with all who wish to provide safety and security to our people, who will continue to put their lives in harms way to keep our people strong and in our land, all of our land.

I too am proud to continue to be part of this effort and I remember to give credit where it is due.

Am Yisrael Chai!

Marc Prowisor

Director of Security Projects – One Israel Fund

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