Israeli company protected Pope from drone threat in Slovakia – report

D-Fend’ technology intercepted a rogue drone at a public mass in September.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

An Israeli company protected the Pope from a drone threat in Slovakia in September, according to an exclusive report Tuesday in The Jerusalem Post.

Pope Francis was holding an outdoor mass with 60,000 participants, including 90 bishops and 500 priests, when a rogue aerial vehicle appeared among many others that had police authorization to cover the event.

D-Fend, a Raanana-based counter-drone company that had been hired by the Slovakian authorities to safeguard all the Pope’s appearances during his three-day visit, used its technology to detect the intruder and neutralize the possible danger.

“EnforceAir fended off the rogue drone, sending it back to its original takeoff position, far away from the large crowd,” the company said of its patented system.

The report said that police had first thought to electronically jam the area in order to remove the threat, but nixed the idea because that could have stopped communications as well, including the airing of the mass on local media.

D-Fend CEO Zohar Halachmi said that there was a “growing danger posed by drones to officials around the world and to large events,” and that the recent G7 summit had also used his company’s technology to protect world leaders this past summer.

The incident took place on the last day of the Holy Father’s visit to the country, during which he attended several mass events, both indoors and outside. One of his first stops was a meeting with the Jewish community in Bratislava, at the site of the capital’s Holocaust memorial.

There, he invoked the memory of the community that was destroyed “in a frenzy of hate” by the highly Christian country that became a Nazi puppet state headed by a Catholic priest, Jozef Tiso. Tens of thousands of Jews were first sent to labor and concentration camps in the country, and then deported to various Nazi death camps.

He called it “blasphemy” for the perpetrators to have “exploited” the name of God for their acts and spoke approvingly of a “Commission of dialogue” that had been established with the Church in 2017 to examine the past. He also denounced contemporary Jew-hatred, saying, “Let us unite in condemning all violence and every form of anti-Semitism, and in working to ensure that God’s image, present in the humanity He created, will never be profaned.”

Only a few thousand Jews live in Slovakia today.