The Cost of Security

As Europeans struggle to come to terms with the horror of the recent terrorist attack in Brussels, the Israelis have taken extreme action in order to maintain security during the country’s Purim holiday which started on the evening of Wednesday 23rd March.

The fence near Hebron

The West Bank Fence near Hebron (photo from Wiki Commons).

On Tuesday night Israel imposed a total closure on the West Bank area, meaning that thousands of Palestinian workers will not be able to cross into Israel to work. The Erez crossing into Gaza has also been closed for all but exceptional humanitarian and medical cases.

This is the cost of trying to maintain security during a festival in Israel, when festivals have been particular targets for terrorists in the past. And the current wave of attacks has increased security concerns, resulting in the deaths of more than 30 victims since October.

Such closures have become a regular security measure recently, as have restrictions upon access to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Again that has been closed to Palestinian men under the age of 50 – an indication that the recent attacks have mostly been carried out by young people.

The Jewish holiday of Purim commemorates the Biblical account in the Book of Esther of the saving of Jewish people from their enemies in ancient Persia. The holiday features street parades, costume parties and an increased number of Jews visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City.