May Those Who Love You Be Secure

January 20, 2009
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I understood their perspective. During the Second Intifada, my friends were living in Jerusalem, and every time I heard a news report about another terrorist attack there, my heart would pound violently, and I would be on my knees until I could find out if they were okay. Strangely, when I moved here in 2005, I didn’t experience any fear, only peace and excitement about what the Lord had in store for my life. I had to adjust to the large number of security guards, police, and military personnel everywhere, but as I came to learn, it’s all a part of making life secure for those who live here.

It was surprisingly easy to answer my aunt’s question with a definitive “No.” For the most part, I really don’t fear for my safety here, and I think it is mainly because I am committed to praying for the peace of Jerusalem, which has a blessing attached to it: “May those who love you be secure, may there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels” (Ps. 122:6–7).

Unfortunately, that explanation doesn’t always cut it for those who love to worry about me, so I find myself launching into details about Israel’s military and police forces, the security fence, and Ben Gurion Airport. By the end, I’m just out and out bragging—I am very proud of the way this tiny nation, surrounded by hostile neighbors, has risen to the top in security measures. When you look at the odds, it’s quite miraculous and shows a value of life that not many nations can fully comprehend.

Military and Police

Military and Police

All eligible Israeli men and women are drafted into military service at the age of 18, although exemptions may be made on the basis of religion. Men serve for three years, and women serve for 21 months, after which they are assigned to reserve units and are required to serve a certain amount of time each year. Soldiers are visible everywhere, and even when off-duty, they still have to carry their weapons. The Israel Defense Force (IDF) ranks among the most battle-trained armed forces in the world, having had to defend the country in five major wars.

All of the military training makes for a strong civilian police system, and Israel’s force consists of about 30,000 officers on payroll, plus about 70,000 civil guard volunteers. The border control unit (Magav) is a military branch of the police and, amazingly, about 20% (6,000) are located in Jerusalem. Other special forces units are trained in counter terrorism, hostage rescue, rapid deployment, intelligence gathering, and infiltration interception.

These highly trained forces are very visible and sometimes seem to come out of nowhere. In Jerusalem, I am often amazed by the quick response—even more so after I crossed the street against a red light in order to catch the bus. I have no idea where the policeman came from or how he got to me so quickly. At least I only received a verbal lashing rather than a fine!

The Security Fence

More than 900 people were killed in terror attacks in Israel between 2000–2003. The absence of a physical barrier between Israel and Palestinian territories made it all too easy for terrorists to infiltrate Israeli communities and carry out acts of terror against civilians. The erection of the security fence has been highly controversial in the world media, but since the fence has been built, there has not been a single suicide bombing in Jerusalem. The fence has saved countless lives. There is no controversy about that.

Ben Gurion International Airport

A few months ago, a delegation from America’s major airports came to Israel to learn more about how one of the world’s most secure airports operates. Traveling in and out of the country quite a bit, I have seen first hand just how effective that security is. There are numerous checkpoints, and I’ve heard a rumor that there’s nowhere in the airport that you aren’t on camera. Checking in and getting to the gate can be a very time-consuming process; but if it prevents a hijacking or other act of terror, then I’ll just keep getting to the airport three hours early and bless those who are looking out for my safety.

Is Israel secure?

“I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety”(Ps. 4:8). It is my relationship with God that causes my heart not to fear. And as for living in Israel, I have come to appreciate the security guard at the restaurant entrance who has to look through my bag; I will not resent the “invasion of my privacy.” When it comes to choosing between the right of privacy versus the right to live, I will choose the latter any day and be thankful that in Israel life is a very precious and valuable thing.

 

By Melissa Reagan, Graphic Designer

 

Photo Credit: Photo: www.israelimages.com

Photo Credit: Photo: www.israelimages.com

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