Jewish communities near Jerusalem will be left unprotected, here’s why

“We are falling between the cracks” of the Defense Ministry, police and National Security Council, say the residents.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Jewish communities in the Jerusalem envelope are facing a severe loss of protection due to ongoing arguments over who is responsible for funding their security, Israel Hayom reported Thursday.

The Border Police, which is technically part of the Israeli Police, took over the responsibility for safeguarding the area from the IDF in 2006. However, the purse-strings were still held by the army and the Defense Ministry, and the paper reported that the flow of money has steadily been reduced over the years.

Among other consequences, this meant that security training for residents ceased, and weapons kept in local storage in case of a terror attack were taken back.

The National Security Council (NSC) stepped in a few years ago and directed that the police should receive the necessary budget for its work, but the recommendation was ignored.

Now, as of next month, the spigot will be completely turned off and the Border Police will stop providing security for four of five villages in its purview in the Gush Adumim bloc, the paper said. The nine other settlements in the area, which are still secured by the IDF, will remain unaffected.

Residents of the region are scared, and furious.

“Are they waiting for a disaster to happen like what happened in Adam?” asked Kfar Adumim security chief Avichai Shorshan, who said that the entrance gates to his settlement will now remain unmanned. “They are simply abandoning us. We have a large academic institution here for the area’s residents – how are we supposed to secure it? We have been falling through the cracks for two decades already.”

In 2018, a 17-year-old Palestinian terrorist infiltrated the Jerusalem-area settlement of Adam by sneaking through its fence. He stabbed three residents, including the one who eventually shot him dead. One of those stabbed, Yotam Ovadia, a father of two very young children, died of his wounds.

While the paper said that all the residents it interviewed blamed the NSC for doing nothing to solve the predicament, other government bodies were not let off the hook, either.

“Everyone – the National Security Council, the Defense Ministry and the Public Security Ministry – shirks off responsibility for the issue,” one resident told the daily.

Another added, “The police should have screamed as well.”