Israel cuts back protection for border towns

Sunday, September 22, 2013 |  Tommy Mueller

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon has a dilemma: he has been ordered to cut costs, but his proposed solution could have dangerous repercussions.

Ya'alon has announced that Israeli soldiers would be pulled back from Jewish towns and villages on the edge of the Gaza Strip and along the northern border with Lebanon. According to the defense minister, modern surveillance and quick access should make the deployment of garrison forces unnecessary.

The affected communities recently protested, but Ya'alon could not be persuaded against the decision. Instead, he gave the communities additional time to organize their own local security teams before the pull-out would take place.

One of the fiercest critics of the decision is Eitan Broshi, who is secretary general of Israel's kibbutz movement. Broshi himself lives in a small border community, and argued that the inhabitants of such villages have the same right to security as military posts in the area.

Broshi explained that advanced security technology is expensive, and many of the small communities cannot afford to foot the bill.

Small Israeli communities like Broshi's typically have only one access road protected by a large metal gate, and the entire area is surrounded by electric fences and barbed wire. But this is often not enough. Case in point, the horrific March 2011 slaying of the Fogel family in the Jewish community of Itamar was carried out by young Palestinians aged 18 and 19 who had little trouble penetrating the security fence.

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