How Jerusalem's Top Cop Keeps the Peace
Terrorism is way down in Israel’s capital, thanks in part to better relations between police and the Palestinian community.
Three Arab Israelis opened fire last Friday on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, a holy site for Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. Two Israeli policemen were killed, as were the attackers. For the first time in decades, Israel closed the compound on a Friday, Islam’s holy day. By Sunday it had reopened, with security cameras in place and temporary metal detectors to screen worshipers.
As this article went to press, Palestinian protests against the new security policies were escalating, with three reported dead. But this violence and the terrorism that sparked it are both notable for their rarity. In a region beset by war and political turmoil, Israel and its capital in particular have remained relatively calm. That’s thanks in part to radical changes in counterterrorism policing led by Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevy, 54, commander of the Israeli Police’s Jerusalem district.
One of the force’s most experienced officers, Gen. Halevy has for the past 17 months overseen the police’s counterterrorism mission in Jerusalem, including roughly 5,000 officers of the Israeli Police and the Border Police. A Jerusalem-born son of Iraqi Jews, he speaks fluent Arabic and has worked undercover in Arab communities. In an interview only days before the Temple Mount attack, he discussed some of his reforms publicly for the first time and explained why he thinks they are reducing both violence and civilian tolerance of it.
Judith Miller is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a Fox News contributor, and a contributing editor of City Journal, which will post a longer version of this article on its website Monday.
This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal