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So I wanted to consider several aspects of the same issue in this post, and as the title suggests, that subject is security (a nebulous word, indeed).

I am personally fairly opposed to any sense of security in the TSA sense – practices and methods that are at the same time invasive, unnecessary, probably un-Constitutional, and accident-prone (things getting broken, people being grievously delayed, etc). At the same time, however, the state of Israel has an entirely different set of issues facing their security forces. One specific anecdote that is close to home (Hebrew University’s campus) kind of shocked me. As most Americans, I was constantly feeling a strong sense of annoyance that each and every time I went into any compound owned by HU, I had to present my ID as well as my backpack for searching to the guards present.

My perception shifted slightly yesterday, however, as I went on one of my self-initiated, self-guided figure out the odd campus layout walks. As I approached the Mexican building (here’s an odd detail – everything, and I mean EVERYTHING on the HU campus was sponsored or fundraised by some international Jewish group, and as such their names are featured on their respective projects), I came into a small plaza in front of a cafe. Deciding to enjoy it, I sat down on one of the walls around a fountain and noticed that the facade of the low stone wall in front of me had tablets with Hebraic and English writing on them. Both said essentially the same thing: “this plaza is dedicated to these 6 students, who died here in a terrorist attack during 2002.”

This is definitely the sort of find that stops a person in their tracks, and it really got me to thinking. This is almost exactly the same as how the TSA functions: an awful tragedy or near tragedy (such as the failed liquid bombs in the shoes), and the TSA responds by implementing new security measures that are very problematic and always remind everyone of the fairly few and far between issues of terrorism. In Israel, however, there is arguably more cause to have such measures. I don’t entirely think I agree with the policy still, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

On a lighter note, and to point out the craziness of trying to be 100% secure at all times, DC has a striking parallel with Jerusalem that one wouldn’t expect. Whereas DC is chock full of rats (something that not everyone is aware of, and no pun or metaphorical political meaning intended), Jerusalem is fill to the very brim with… cats. In fact, its as if the two cities should really start an import/export business to even things out. But, the point is, these cats get anywhere and everywhere, including into dorm buildings and they can always be found tearing up/through garbage bags, and generally making a huge nuisance of themselves. This serves to illustrate that as in control as the security guards like to try and be, there is always a significant number of variables that they cannot even begin to control.

Another concise example of the overdone nature of Israeli “security” is El Al: nothing more need be said, given my previous posts.

While we’re on the subject, and since I am genuinely curious, here is a poll for you, my readers:

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One Comment

  1. BTW – If you ever have a terrible smell in your room, check under your bed.

    A female cat may have snuck into your room, given birth under your bed and then died.

    That’s what happened to my friend in Israel.


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