Security Advisory: Pillar of Defense Operation in Gaza
Today, in response to intensified rocket attacks from Gaza, Israel began a military operation named “Operation Amud Anan” or “Pillar of Defense,” targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad leadership, and rocket launching sites and weapon storage facilities.
Between October 22-24, 2012, seventy-seven rockets were launched against Israel, and from November 3-4, 2012, more than 100 were launched, with many landing in Israeli population centers. Today, as part of this operation, an Israeli airstrike killed Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari, who Israeli security sources say was responsible for anti-Israel terror activity emanating from the Gaza Strip over the past decade, including the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.
Individuals seeking retaliation for the operation may be drawn to Jewish or Israeli targets. ADL currently has no information regarding a specific threat against any Jewish institution. Nonetheless, it is worth taking extra precautions.
Below are strongly recommended action steps.
- Review and practice security procedures. In particular, review with all personnel their role in security. Ensure that your staff members, including newly hired personnel, and all volunteers know what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Instruct staff and congregants to keep their eyes and ears open for anything unusual or suspicious. (See more information below.)
- Ensure that your institution’s rules and procedures dealing with who gets into your facility (access controls) are sufficient and enforced.
- Review mail handling practices and procedures. If vigilance has slipped in mail and package delivery safety procedures, now is the time to revisit this area. (See more information below.)
- Make sure that any security devices, communications equipment, and/or video cameras are working properly and being properly used.
- Connect with local law enforcement to discuss security. If you have not established personal relationships with key police personnel, set up a meeting to do so.
Keep your eyes and ears open for:
- Unusual behavior
- Suspicious packages and strange devices
- Requests for information, particularly about your security system or procedures
- Attempts to by-pass or test your security
- Someone taking photographs or video of your institution
- Someone sitting in a vehicle for an extended period of time; and/or
- uncooperative or dismissive behavior
If someone’s behavior strikes you as suspicious, make note of:
- Details about their behavior
- Gender, age, and physical description
- What they are wearing
- A description of any vehicle by make, color, and license plate
- The date, time, and location of the occurrence
Trust your instincts. If something strikes you suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately.
All letters and packages should be hand-sorted and screened for the following:
- Excessive postage
- Misspelled words
- Addressed to title only (e.g., President or Rabbi)
- Rigid or bulky exterior
- Badly-typed or written
- Strange odor
- Oily stains on wrapper
- Wrong title with name
- Protruding wires
Note: In addition to these indicators, your observations and intuition are two vital elements in identifying suspicious packages.
If you are suspicious of a package:
- Stop. Don’t open, handle, shake, taste or smell.
- Isolate the area immediately; keep others away.
- Call 911.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
You may refer to ADL’s security manual Protecting Your Institution and find additional information on creating a security plan, access control, crisis management, and more, at ADL’s security website: www.adl.org/security.