ANTI-TERROR TRAINING FOR AMERICAN JEWS
COMPLIMENTS OF ISRAELI ARMY
"Come to a Vacation of Terror in the Settlements." That's how Ynet portrays
an Anti-Terrorism Training Course for North Americans, developed in
consultation with the IDF.
Operation Shiloh, as the program is known, boasts of two main objectives:
to provide participants with hands-on insight into how the IDF successfully
combats terrorism, and to give them personal anti-terror training. In light
of what the organizers call "recent FBI warnings [emphasizing] that the
American Jewish community is particularly vulnerable to terrorist attacks,"
participants will be trained in self-defense against terrorism by IDF
personnel and ex-security operatives.
Ynet, however, the internet site of Yediot Acharonot, chose to see the
program in a very different light. Using terms such as "new attraction"
and "tourist package for rich adventurous Americans seeking excitement and
action," Ynet presents the idea as a cynical way of making money off of
Israel's terrorist dangers. "Two Gush Etzion entrepreneurs," Ynet reports,
"decided to outsmart the tourism drop in Israel, and instead of trying to
persuade tourists that it's not dangerous here, they present terrorism as
an attraction…" The organizers are quoted as saying, "A patrol along the
fences of one of the settlements at night, in the knowledge that a battle
could develop there, is an experience that will never be forgotten… They
will receive full value for their money… They will sweat with fear… When
they heard that no American insurance company was willing to insure them,
they understood that it's not a game…" (An Israeli insurance company has
since been found, however.)
Yehoshua Mizrachi, one of the organizers, told Arutz-7's Yosef Zalmanson
today, "The press here has put an unfair spin on this program. It is really
a very serious program, planned for a long while in conjunction with the
IDF. It's not a tourist package, but a program designed to help people
learn about terrorism and defend themselves." He said that the seemingly
expensive price of $5,500 per person includes "all expenses, including
roundtrip airfare, full room and board, transportation, live-fire
exercises, helicopter rides, lecturers, and more."
The media reports put leaders of the Jewish communities in Yesha (Judea,
Samaria and Gaza) in an uncomfortable situation. They have been forced to
react with "irritation," as Haaretz reported, to the impression that the
program "unfairly paints [Yesha] as an impossibly dangerous place to live."
Yesha Council head Bentzi Lieberman was quoted as saying, "This is
something marginal, irrelevant, and to an extent, is the opposite of
reality." Yehoshua Mizrachi protested the unfairness of it all: "The
participants will spend most of their time in Caesarea and not in Yesha,
and most of their visits to Yesha, where I live, will be for the very
purpose of showing them how *not* dangerous it is here!" [Arutz7 - 3/5/2003]