I probably ought to have more faith in people. Only a month ago I questioned whether or not the Polish security company, City Security, would actually send one hundred of their best employees to volunteer, for free, in an attempt to provide assistance in securing Israelis on the streets of Jerusalem.
Well, I am pleased to announce that this has indeed happened. So far, twenty volunteers have landed in Israel and are undertaking training to ensure that they are aware of the actual reality of protecting Israeli civilians and visiting tourists. They are to supervise the streets of the Holy City.
Certain questions have been also answered. Following the initial uncertainty, the CEO of the company, Beniamin Krasicki, stated clearly that the operation will be funded solely by City Security and none of the costs would be covered by either Polish or Israeli government; the initiative is purely personal, as far as corporate interest can be personal, and the volunteers seem to appear ecstatic about the prospect of widening their training.
I am inclined to side with Jonny Daniels, the founder of the From the Depths Foundation, who said that walking through the Old City, arm in arm, the Poles and the Jews, gives a whiff of reconciliation, even though nothing can change the history. It also gives weight to my previous argument, that not all people are monsters and even though we may not have much in common on the surface, the general human security and basic human wellbeing is what we care for most. Human life is and always should be of paramount importance.
One of the important realisations brought up while organising this trip were that the face of terrorism in Europe is changing. That face is less hidden, more fearless and more radical. The Europeans are increasingly aware that their diplomatic and democratic measures will not change the idea behind Islamic fundamentalism. They also seem to be realising, albeit on a more social than political level, that whatever happens in Israel, will eventually happen everywhere else in the world. What the world has begun tasting now is still just a drop in the ocean of what has been happening almost non-stop in Israel since the War of Independence in 1948. The fact that the world doesn’t hear about every single explosion or a knife attack is because the world doesn’t consider the situation in Israel to be their top priority. On the flip side, what City Security is realising, is that following Israelis on the streets of Jerusalem (though I wonder if Israelis would expose the Poles to Hebron or Gush Etziyon, where attacks are more frequent on daily basis) is preparing them essentially for what is due to happen in Poland, should things continue rolling the way they do. I don’t understand why countries are afraid to admit the obvious; namely, should they continue ignoring Israel and side with the Palestinians, they will end up in a bigger pickle that they are now.
So far, the Polish security officers went through some training with Israeli anti-terrorist representatives and have been familiarised with procedures required to take action facing immediate threat. They have also met the Israeli Deputy Minister of Defence, Eli Ben Dahan, as well as the Deputy Chairman of the Knesset, Hilik Bar.
Quoting Krzysztof Leidel, the director of the centre for terrorism at the Collegium Cavitas in Poland, observing how Israelis deal with their security issues is an extraordinary opportunity for the Poles to learn from. “These solutions, introduced over the period of close to 60 years of fighting terrorism largely contribute to clues which the entire world has been learning from. Being able to see these solutions at the source of their implementation and ingenuity, and subsequently being able to introduce them back home, has been considered to be a worthwhile aspect of the group’s stay in Israel.”
Poland is an interesting country, a hybrid of both an incredible tolerance to others under unusual circumstances as well as extreme xenophobism on a daily basis in certain regions. On the one hand, the newly elected president of Poland, Andrzej Duda lights Chanukah candles with the chief rabbi of Poland, Micheal Schudrich; there is a country-wide resurgence of Jewish life and the Polish government is very pro-Israeli, while on the other hand, in the pro-fascist protest against new immigrants a mob burned a mannequin of an orthodox Jew at the main square in Wroclaw chanting anti-Semitic slogans. The truth is ugly and I understand that not now everyone want to hear it. However, the sparks of change seem to be coming from most unusual places. Krasicki wrote in his official letter to the Israeli National Security Minister that „in the past, as Polish citizens, we had a chance of observing frequent attacks on Jews. We are therefore well aware of the rule that he who attacks you (the Jews) will eventually turn against us (the Poles).”
I wish the volunteers all the best, all success and more initiatives of that sort from around the world.