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Shocked! Online Magazine for Millennials Publishes Pro-Israel Piece on Border Guard

OZY is a global magazine that “delivers you cutting-edge viewpoints, worldwide stories and a daily dose of remarkable.” It claims to have an audience of 25 million monthly visitors, “along with millions more who enjoy OZY through our partners — including NPR, CNN, USA TODAY, Huffington Post, PBS NewsHour, MSN and our friends at Axel Springer.” Their Facebook page has close to a million Likes. So their audience is substantial.

I am telling you all of this because they have published the account of an Israeli border guard in their Day of the Life series, something I find to be surprising (in a good way) given the types of articles we are seeing from these millennial-type publications.

Source photo courtesy of Matthew Stein

Motti Sherby, Head of Security
Lamed Hey Border Crossing, Israel

I’m always moving around. As the head of the shift for security, I manage our security guards, and when there’s a problem, I’m the first one to give it attention. I also run our 3:30 a.m. protocol meeting, where we review any terror incidents or new intelligence from the last shift.

We also spend time preparing hypothetical scenarios. For example, what happens if there are two simultaneous attackers at the crossing? Or what to do with a suspicious object. We try to be as creative as possible.

At 4 a.m. the doors for the pedestrian crossing are open, and by 8:30 a.m. the majority of the 3,000 Palestinians who cross daily have passed through. The line can take up to 15 minutes and works well. It’s already a routine, so the Palestinians know what to do. Problems can occur when someone doesn’t want to show their ID or have their bags checked. When fights do break out, it’s often between Palestinians; either someone is trying to cut the line or it’s the result of a feud that started at home. If we shout, they usually break it up fairly quickly. We also have pepper spray, if necessary.

The threats we face are always the same. Just because there are no terrorist attacks like there were during the Intifada in 2001 doesn’t mean we’ll change the way we operate. The main concerns are weapons and explosives that could have been manufactured in a Palestinian city where Israel doesn’t have a steady security presence. A few months ago we caught some people with pistols in their car, but this crossing is usually calm.

The Palestinians see Israeli soldiers in uniform as an occupation force, so we wear civilian uniforms to lower the tension. It also helps when you explain yourself and speak “at the height of the eyes” — as we say here — and not in a condescending way. Twice a year we have sessions dedicated to this issue. We’re reminded that although there are 3,000 people a day who pass through, you have to address each one as if they’re the only person you’ll see that day.

At the same time, it can be uncomfortable going through the check and enforcing security. It’s not a natural interaction for humans. But it’s proving itself. I wouldn’t want to lower the security. Any change really needs to be measured. It’s not anything I could see happening in the next few years.

Read the whole thing.

Bonus: As of the time of this post, there are only 9 comments to this article – most of which are pro-Israel.

What a welcome change.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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