Jews Face Special Risks, Napolitano Says

Homeland Security Sec'y Defends Controversial Grant Program

Secretary Speaks: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speaks to staff at the Forward’s offices.
NATE LAVEY
Secretary Speaks: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speaks to staff at the Forward’s offices.

By Nathan Guttman

Published June 05, 2012, issue of June 15, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

On another topic, Napolitano said that the DHS has decided to allow Israeli citizens to enter the United States via a special fast-track program despite Israel’s decision not to grant Americans reciprocal consideration, as the United States usually requires.

Israel’s inclusion in the Global Entry program allows frequent visitors to the United States to complete a questionnaire about their backgrounds and thereafter enter the country by simply scanning their passports. Napolitano announced the decision to include Israeli citizens in the program during a May 20 visit to Israel. A reciprocity requirement that has been applied to all other countries seeking to join the program was waived in the case of Israel.

“We have a special friendship with Israel,” Napolitano explained. “President Obama is very committed to that relationship, and we are looking for ways to express that commitment within the portfolio of tasks that the Department of Homeland Security performs.”

At the same time, Napolitano was noncommittal when asked about a push by some members of Congress and the Israeli government to allow Israeli citizens to enter the United States without tourist visas at all, as is currently permitted for citizens of some European countries. The administration, she noted, has not yet expressed its view on this proposal.

During her recent visit to Israel, Napolitano discussed with Israeli officials the issue of securing borders while preserving the rights of refugees entering the country. Israel has been dealing recently with a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment aimed at African migrants seeking refuge in Israel. Napolitano did not, however, provide Israel with advice on the issue and would not comment on the Israeli government’s treatment of the Africans trying to enter the country.

On the issue of screening procedures in airports, however, the DHS secretary did make clear that the United States would not follow Israel’s model. Israel is known for employing screening techniques that profile air travelers based on their origin, ethnicity or faith. Security checks conducted at Ben Gurion International Airport routinely require one-to-one interviews. Napolitano said that the huge difference in scale makes screening via personal interviews impractical in the United States, with its scores of international entry points. “It’s against the law here to profile,” Napolitano added.

“Israel has perfected a system that works very well there,” Napolitano said. “They do a terrific job. But it’s not a system we can just transport 100% to the U.S. It won’t fit.”

Napolitano also pointedly declined to criticize New York City’s controversial program of surveillance of Muslim organizations and individuals with no known or suspected ties to terrorism. She said New York remains a potential terror target and that she was not going to “second-guess” any local police department or the program, which civil liberties groups believe amounts to illegal domestic spying.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.