The Orthodox Union recently welcomed Superintendent Mickey Rosenfeld, the British born foreign press spokesperson for the Israeli Police, to speak to a select group of New York metro’s Jewish community leaders and synagogue security chairs about how the Israeli National Police is dealing with the current crisis.
The event was arranged through Our Soldiers Speak, a New York-based organization that sends IDF soldiers and members of the Israeli police force to college campuses and organizations to present an accurate picture of the Israeli/Arab conflict.
Just before the event, the OU sat down with Spt. Rosenfeld and Sgt. Benjamin Anthony, CEO of Our Soldiers Speak.
Please tell me about your career with the Israel National Police.
I served the first ten years from 1995-2005 in the police anti-Terrorist national unit, the Yamam, which deals with counter-terrorism. This was during the very intensive period of the second intifada. I was engaging with terrorists and suicide bombers, split second decisions had to be made. There were days and nights I didn’t know if I was going to come home.
After that, I represented the unit to different foreign delegations from overseas, such as international units including the SAS, the Delta, NYPD, LAPD. We would learn and exchange information about how we deal with terrorist threats. For two years I trained anti-terrorist units. I’m now the Israeli police foreign spokesman for the BBC, CNN, Reuters and Sky Fox.
What brings you to the United States at this time?
I think it is a tremendously important and significant visit, unique in the time that we are in the height of the terror taking place in Israel. People see it off some network, or Facebook or YouTube. The visit gives me an opportunity to [provide] a real eye-opener to both the different organizations and individuals. We need to make sure that as much information is being put out and that all the different communities are connected to what is going on in Israel and that they receive the information from Israeli police.
I understand you met with members of Congress this week. What results came from these meetings?
Sgt. Benjamin Anthony, who arranged and accompanied Spt. Rosenfeld’s US meetings, addressed this question. Anthony is CEO of Our Soldiers Speak, a New York-based organization that sends IDF soldiers and members of the Israeli police force to English speaking college campuses and organizations to present an accurate picture of the Israeli/Arab conflict.
It’s built a substantive bridge between the Israeli police and members of US Congress that we intend to continue. We already plan to host members of Congress within the Israeli police stations and observation and intelligence centers in the next ten days. We will be supplying members of Congress with facts they were hitherto unaware of. Spt. Rosenfeld plans to release exclusive videos depicting just how heinous the crimes are, so that the members of congress can speak on it. He is also going to be convening press conferences in Israel, where those individuals with whom we met will speak to the issues from Jerusalem.
Describe the terrorists involved with the current wave of violence.
They range from the ages of 13—33; 21. 8 percent of them have been under the age of 25.
How has Internet played a role in terrorism today?
Social media has played a tremendous role. We have seen at nine o’clock in the morning male or female terrorists put out the information, change their Facebook page and 3:00 in the afternoon, that same terrorist carries out the attack. They were arrested or shot six hours later. Incitement is coming from the Palestinian authority and social media.
What tools does the Israeli police force use to monitor and detect incitement and potential terror threats?
We have 320 cameras in the Old City We can back track on our CCTV footage where those terrorists came in from as they approached the Old City. It’s very important to use as much technology as possible so that we know ahead of time; we can spot suspects. When I was walking around the Old City two weeks ago, I was wearing a protective jacket; it was very dangerous, a lot of tension in the streets. I was communicating with officers in Intelligence and the observation center who were telling me where there were suspects and if there were any individuals coming my way. There are different strategies with which we protect as many people as possible. The coordination on the ground is essential.
Has the Israel National Police shared its hard-won anti-terrorism knowledge with the United States?
We speak openly and conduct a transfer of information with American law enforcement agencies, Homeland Security, the NYPD and the LAPD. The information is transferred quickly and is effective.
How do you deal with the anti-Israel bias in the media?
There’s a frontline battle taking place in the media world. In the Arab media the first 45 seconds of an attack have been cut out, formatted and released and put out on social media and Palestinian media. Therefore, it is critical that the Israeli police put out every CCTV footage of every [terrorist] incident that has been picked up. A year ago that footage would not have been put out; they would have been kept for investigative purposes.
There has been a strategic change by the Israeli national police that the footage of every attack that we know about is being putting out officially through the foreign press’s spokesman department, in order that the foreign media and the members of the public get a full picture of what’s going on and that they cover it.
How can the OU, the largest umbrella organization representing North America’s Jewish communities and synagogues, address this problem?
OU members have to get as much information as possible and transmit that information; that would help here in America as well as Israel. We have to get the message out. They have to make sure Americans understand what is really going on in Israel; not to misunderstand and see it from CNN, who changes the headlines and re-changes it later on; it’s important to go into the official feeds. [see Spt. Rosenfeld on Twitter]
We have to get the message out.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.