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Partners For Change: Crime and Drugs

We need to help cities that fight crime in sensible ways--with community policing, drug treatment and drug education. And we need an effective, coordinated drug interdiction program that stops the endless flow of drugs entering our schools, our streets and our communities.

Israel has worked with the United States for many years on one aspect of crime--international terrorism. In the last few years, Israelis have also expressed a desire to contribute more of their expertise to the American war on drugs. Increasing the level of cooperation and information exchanges between law enforcement and intelligence activities will enhance the United States capability to combat these problems.

The War on Drugs

The world's largest source of hashish is located north of Israel's border in an area controlled by Syria and Lebanon. This, combined with the need to seal the country from terrorists attempting infiltration by land or sea, has led Israel to develop highly sophisticated technologies and techniques for interdiction. Recognizing that the United States could benefit from sharing information with Israel, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the State Department Bureau of International Narcotics Matters and the Israel Anti-Drug Authority in 1991 for cooperation to combat illicit narcotics trafficking and abuse. This MOU provides for annual meetings to focus on eight areas:

  • Interdiction -- information-sharing on methods.
  • Law Enforcement -- information-sharing on techniques to seize and arrest illicit drugs, drug traffickers and to disrupt their organizations.
  • Intelligence -- cooperation in gathering and sharing.
  • Legal Assistance -- criminal investigations, prosecutions and judicial proceedings in relation to drug trafficking offenses.
  • Training -- for law enforcement, treatment and rehabilitation, and prevention personnel.
  • R&D -- development of scientific and technical tools to combat production and trafficking.
  • Education -- promotion of drug awareness, development of drug prevention information and education programs.
  • Treatment & Rehabilitation -- development of drug treatment and rehabilitation programs.

Specifically, in the area of interdiction, Israel can offer equipment and technologies in areas that include:

  • Integrated multi-sensor surveillance and detection systems.
  • Observation systems.
  • Acoustic detection and identification.
  • Sniffing systems.
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles and heliborne surveillance systems.
  • Intrusion detection systems.

Fighting Crime and Terrorism

The World Trade Center bombing brought home to Americans the danger of terrorism that Israelis face every day. Many lives have been lost in Israel's fight for survival. Out of these tragedies, however, Israel has gained knowledge that can benefit the United States in several potential areas.

  • The United States has exceptional SWAT teams that are adept at hostage negotiations with criminals; they have less experience dealing with political kidnappers.
  • Americans involved in counterterrorism could also learn from their counterparts.
  • Israelis can teach interview techniques for different types of suspects.
  • Israel is especially advanced in airport and seaport security. The latter, in particular, is something the United States has not focused on because of the relative lack of threats from the sea; nevertheless, the information could be valuable for drug interdiction.
  • Israel excels in border control.
  • Israel undoubtedly has databases on individuals that would be useful to American law enforcement officials.
  • Israel has experience protecting dignitaries and government officials that might be valuable to share with the Secret Service and other U.S. agencies (particularly local ones) responsible for the personal safety of VIPs.

Helping the Cop on the Beat

  • Cooperation between city police in Israel and the United States can also assist American law enforcement officials. For example, police from Nutley, New Jersey, are being twinned with the Tel Aviv force.
  • With budget cuts, particularly at the state and local level, training has been cut back. A small investment in exchanges of ideas with Israel on this subject could greatly aid American anti-crime efforts.
  • The National Police Academy in Netanya was described by one visiting New Jersey police sergeant as "one of the best he's ever seen."
  • Israel has a highly developed proficiency testing regimen for officers.