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July 27, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 20A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 27, 2012 By Miriam Shaviv LONDON (JTA)--l~pically on high alert, London's Jew- ish community organizations are being advised to take additional security measures during the Olympics. The Community Security 1rust, the charity that rep- resents and recommends the community on matters of security, has told Jewish groups to implement or in- crease patrols around their buildings. CST's guidelines also remind community groups of basic security steps such as questioning visitors to community buildings, not congregating outside and ensuring that all security equipment is working. "We are not aware of any specific threats related to the Jewish community," empha- sized Dave Rich, the CST's deputy director of communi- cations. "This is the normal kind of advice we would give to people when there are high- profile events taking place in London. There mightbe some anti-Israel demonstrations, butwe are not expecting mas- sive disruptions." The London Jewish com- munity's security infrastruc- ture already is highly devel- oped, with guards posted outside nearly every syna- gogue, school and commu- nity building. Additionally, CST-trained volunteers help to secure major community events. Among the concerns is that the high volume of overseas visitors expected at Jewish communityvenues duringthe Games will present a security challenge. In addition, the security alert for the entire city may be raised. "There is no doubt that the Jewish community needs to be vigilant, but there is noth- ing new in that," said Hagai Segal, a lecturer at New York University in London and a consultant on Middle Eastern affairs and terrorism. "There is no evidence of any specific targeting of the Jewish com- munity or of terror attacks being planned in general, either." Pointing to the general security operation in Lon- don that is "unprecedented in British history," he said, "When the country is better protected, the Jewish commu- nity is better protected, too." In the absence of a specific threat, Segal added, the Jewish community has no need to increase its security arrangements significantly, as they are already so ex- tensive. "The community has had to get used to having patrols around synagogues and a system for the reporting of anti-Semitism, and it is recognized as having one of the best community security systems anywhere," he said. "The London Metropolitan Police actually uses the CST as an example of efficient community policing. The community is expert in this area, which ensures thatwhen there are special events in the city, they don't have to do much more." Similarly, he said, Lon- don as a whole had been operating at the highest or second-highest level of threat assessment since the subway and bus bombings on July 7, 2005, and is also accustomed to extensive counterterror measures. "A lot has been learned since 7/7. The UK has become very good at counterterror- ism," Segal said. Meanwhile, the details re- garding security for the Israeli delegation to the Olympics are being closely guarded. Efraim Zinger, secretary- general of the Israeli Olympic Committee and head of the Israeli Olympic delegation, would confirm only that the British were responsible for the team's security and that the delegation would not be housed in a separate building in the Olympic Village. "We are closely following the security measures taken by the London Organizing Committee of the Olympicand Paralympic Games and by the British government," Ziniger said. "We really appreciate the enormous effort and money that is being invested. They know how to do this work and we trust them." He acknowledged that a large event like the Olympics was "naturally very attractive for the bad guys," but said that the threat was not just to Israel, as the British and Americans could be targeted as well. "There is complete coop- eration in all areas, we have open channels," Zinger said. "Those who need to protect the Games are concentrating on that and doing an excel lent job. We are concentrating on our sportspeople doing an excellent job." The operation to secure London as a whole will be the most expensive in British history, costing $1.55 billion. Some 17,000 troops, 12,500 policemen and 7,000 security guards will be posted in the city, which has been nick- named "Fortress London," while an aircraft carrier will dock on the Thames River, surface-to-air missiles will be deployed at six sites and unmanned drones with sur- veillance cameras will patrol the skies. Nevertheless, the security arrangements have been severely criticized in recent weeks after it emerged that the company contracted to protect the Olympic Park and stadiums failed to deliver enough person- nel. The government has deployed 3,500 more troops than originally planned and warned that more might be necessary Nerves were rattled earlier this month after six Islamist extremists were arrested in London over a possible ter- ror plot. Three lived just a mile from the Olympic sta- dium. However, the London Metropolitan Police said the arrests were not linked to the Olympics. By Ben Sales RAb1ALLAH, West Bank (JTA)--A portrait of the two most prominent Palestinian leaders--current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and former President Yasser Arafat, who died in 2004--hangs in the confer- ence room of the Palestinian Olympics Committee head- quarters. The background of the por- trait isapanoramaofthe Dome of the Rock in the Old City of Jerusalem, which Israel and the Palestinians both claim as a capital. National flags and pho- tos of national leaders would be commonplace at any country's Olympics office. Indeed, Israeli flags abounded at a press event for the Israeli Olympics team earlier this month. But as Palestinian delega- tion head Hani Halabi sees it, and as the Dome of the Rock photograph indicates, the Palestinian delegation's pres- ence at the London Olympics is about not just national pride but also highlighting the ongoing Palestinian conflict with Israel. Halabi says he is proud, for example, that Palestinian judoka Maher Abu Rmeileh became the first Palestinian ever to qualify on his own for an Olympic evenL But he is even happier thatAbu Rmeileh is from Jerusalem. Four Palestinian athletes, two men and two women, will join Abu Rmeileh, who is 28, in London: swimmers Sabine Hazboun and Ahmed Mostafa Gebrel and sprinters Baha Alfarra and Woroud Sawalha. The latter covers her hair even while competing. While Abu Rmeileh quali- fied for the Olympics on his own by competing in his sport, the other Palesfinian athletes, by contrast, will reach the Games via a special invita- tion from the International Olympic Committee reserved for countries whose athletes have not been able to qualify for events. Palestinians have been competing in those spots since 1996, the first year they participated in the Olympics. Sawalha, 22, does not have medal hopes, saying that she needs "more years" to train, but said that she is excited to go to London, "represent my country and see another world." Israeli delegation head Efraim Zinger said that the Israeli Olympics Committee has tried to use the Olympics to foster cooperation between his team and the Palestinian one. Israel offered joint training facilities and staff to the teams, he said, and the International Olympics Committee "praised our effort and cooperation. But on their side we didn't get any response. "It's a shame, because we believe that through sports the young generation can get to know each other better than during day-to-day life," he said. Halabi dismissed the notion that sports could bring Israelis and Palestinians together. For him, conversely, preparing for the Games has brought the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into sharp relief. "We are in the occupation," he told JTA. There are "no facilities, no coach, no mov- ing for the player from town to town--from Jerusalem to Ramallah, from Ramallah to Bethlehem." Halabi said that due to restrictions on Palestin- ian freedom of movement, the first time the entire delegation met is when the athletes and coaches arrived at London's Heathrow Airport on July 20. Even when offered, Halabi said he refuses any coopera- tion with the Israeli delegation. "There are more than 6,000 Palestinians in their prisons," he said about Israel. "With the occupation and the prisons, I cannot train in judo" with Israel. For her part, Sawalhawould be happy to train with Israelis. "The whole thing is about sport and nothing else," she said. Zinger said that the Israeli Olympics Committee has been responsive to every Palestinian complaint regarding freedom of movement, doing its utmost to ensure that Palestinian athletes can train without limitations. "They have no problem in principle as far as we know," he said. "When there were problems like that in the past we managed to work it out and since then we haven't heard any complaints." The International Olympics Committee reported in an October 2011 news release that the Israeli and Palestin- ian Olympics committees met three times last year regarding potential collaboration and easing freedom of movement, but has reported no further progress since then. Even as he eschews using the Israeli Olympics team's gyms, Halabi lamented his athletes' subpar training facilities. As such, while star Israeli judoka Arik Ze'evi expects to win a medal, Halabi has modest goals in mind for Abu Rmeileh. "I hope to see him carry the Palestinian flag in London," Halabi said. "He is a good fighter in judo. Maybe he will make a good place, but a medal is very difficult." Spats between the two com- mittees have occurred ever since the Palestinian delegation first announced its participation in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Israel reportedly objected that year to the Palestinian athletes' walking under a banner that read "Palestine," on the grounds that there was no recognized state of Palestine. The Inter- national Olympic Committee dismissed the complaint. This year, Israel has lobbied heavily--and so far unsuccess- fully-for a minute of silence atthe Games to commemorate the murder of 11 members of the Israeli delegation to the 1972 Munich Games. Palestin- Jan terrorists killed the victims. Halabi said he had "no com- ment" on the issue. Your in Orlando Real Estate!!!! Over 25+ years Residential Real Estate Sales experience Over $200 Million+ Lifetime Sales GALE MILGRIM, P.A Realtor Gale.Milgrim@FloridaMoves.com 407-443-9832 Visit www. OrlandoJewishRealtor.com To read my Glowing Client Testimonials and my BIO!!!!! 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