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Isaac Kfir

The purpose of this chapter is to describe Israel’s approach to counter-terrorism (CT), beginning with the threat that the state and its people have faced. The intention is to focus on the post-9/11 period, but that still demands a look at how the approach has evolved since the establishment of the state in 1948. It is also important to emphasize that terrorism is constantly evolving, and with it, Israel’s response to it, which is why the first section reviews Palestinian-led terrorist attacks over a 60-year period. When the First Intifada broke out, Israel has no effective response because its security apparatus – the Israel Defense Force (IDF) – was ill-suited to a popular uprising that demanded a more nuanced, police-style response as opposed to hard military power. Notably over the decade, the IDF has drastically changed because Israeli policymakers recognize that the threat to Israel is less from conventional forces and more from non-state actors and proxies, which has meant that the principal unit that is involved in countering terrorism is the IDF soldier. The second section looks at some of the specialist measures taken by the Israeli military and the police. Both these entities have adapted their techniques in lieu of the Second Intifada to address the threat posed by Palestinian suicide terrorism. The latest threat has come from knife attacks carried out by Arab-Israelis, including many teenagers. This trend has posed a major challenge to the Israelis because these individuals live within Israel or within the ‘Green Line’ and carry Israeli identity cards. The third section looks at Israel’s involvement in cyber and what role cyber plays in CT.