If you live, learn or work in the Jerusalem area, the new reality of vehicular terror has changed the way you live. Some have opted to stop using public transportation. Some don’t have that option. Beyond vehicular terror, we have seen stonings, firebombings, stabbings and shootings. Tragically, we have also seen the current wave of deadly attacks extend far beyond the Jerusalem area.
My friends, we find ourselves on the front lines of a new war. They failed to inflict mass casualties with tunnels and thousands of missiles, so they have returned to simpler and (quite honestly) more effective terror tools.
I’m no security or self defense expert, but I try to be observant. Below I’ve listed some of the changes I have made to my daily routine and behaviour to accomodate the new reality in which I live. Take my opinion as just that, my opinion, and no matter what you do, obey the law.
1. Know the threat. With almost every attack, a video emerges. As uncomfortable as it is, I watch these videos repeatedly until I understand as much as I can about how the attack was carried out, how it unfolded and how the victims, bystanders and security forces reacted.
2. Be alert. Be aware of your surroundings. Wherever you are, look for potential directions of attack.
3. When waiting for or riding public transport, it’s best to put the phone/tablet away and remove your headphones. You need to be engaged with your environment.
4. When at the train stop, most people are jockeying for position to be first on the train. Many stand at the very edge of the platform. This is always dangerous, but especially so now. As the train pulls into the station, it’s still moving fairly fast. If a terrorist can stab and run, he can shove a person in front of a train and run. Same goes for sidewalks near fast moving traffic. Stay as far away from the curb as possible.
5. When on the train, be aware that the greatest potential for an attack is when the doors open. Terrorists inside the train have stabbed and ran as the doors opened. Terrorists outside the train have rushed into the train as the doors opened, stabbed and ran. Pepper spray attacks have happened as the doors opened. Be on higher alert as the train pulls into each station.
6. Get some training. When it comes to self defense, this country has no shortage of reputable self defense instructors. I personally recommend Moshe Katz of Krav International. If you are a licensed firearm owner, take a combat shooting course and train with your firearm as much as possible. For combat shooting, I highly recommend Avi Dobuler. Honestly, the best move you can learn is how to get away from the threat and avoid engagement.
7. Get some equipment. Sunglasses or other eyewear can give at least minimal protection from things like pepper spray and flying glass. Speaking of pepper spray, I never go anywhere without it. Buy 2 canisters and use one for practice in an open, well ventilated area, just so you know how it works. In addition to pepper spray, there are other non-lethal defensive products on the market such as the Gotcha Cap by Fab Defense. And again, OBEY THE LAW.
8. Most importantly, do your part to elect leaders who value your life more than they fear world opinion.
As I said, I’m no professional and I can’t guarantee that any of this will make a difference. But it does make me feel better about a situation I have to live with, and here in Israel that goes a long way.