Video: British could take a terror lesson from the Israelis

By Martin Fletcher Correspondent
NBC News
updated 7/8/2005 7:27:57 PM ET 2005-07-08T23:27:57

It's only a day after the worst attack in Britain since the second world war, yet, in getting on a train in London Friday, guards still check your ticket but not your bag. 

Friday morning in Chicago was the same. Anyone could be carrying a bomb.

But in Israel, which learned how to live with terrorism the hard way, it’s a different story.

At Tel Aviv's main train station Friday morning: First, there is a body check. Next, you open your bags. Then you show an ID card. Only then are you allowed on the train. And still, after all that, sniffer dogs look for bombs in the busy station.

But, back in London's Paddington Station, NBC News watched trash bags for half an hour, right by the police headquarters in the busy station. Similar objects in Israel wouldn't last 10 minutes before the bomb squad would come and, using a robot, blow up the bags.

London's main weapon of self-defense involves surveillance cameras — more than 8,000 throughout the city.

In Chicago's 9/11 Center, they're building a similar network — 1,000 miles of fiber that will connect 2,000 cameras. Buildings that are perhaps deemed as targets for terrorism will have cameras that are strategically situated.

But the trouble, says Dr. David Claridge of Janusian Security Risk Management, is who can watch so many monitors, all the time?

"They are being recorded, hopefully," says Claridge. "But they are not necessarily being watched."

And that's the difference. In Jerusalem the cameras are being watched 24/7, in real time.

But Israel's main weapon of self-defense is simply public awareness.

In that regard, Roni Scheindorf, a Tel Aviv resident, is armed and ready. 

"I open my eyes really big! And I see who is around me," explains Scheindorf. "When I go on a bus, I'm like, 'Who is sitting next to me?'"

Even before passengers get on an Israeli bus, the driver checks it for bombs. He also checks out every passenger, in case anyone looks suspicious. It's a way of life — a price to pay for staying safe.

© 2013  Reprints


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments