Don’t hide - fight, Jerusalem mayor urges Bri­tons

Manawatu Standard - - WORLD -

"We train our pub­lic to en­gage [the ter­ror­ists]. Even if you are risk­ing your life, en­gage - be­cause you are sav­ing oth­ers. "Nir Barkat, mayor of Jerusalem

IS­RAEL: The leader of one of the world’s most con­flict-riven cities has ques­tioned of­fi­cial UK po­lice ad­vice to ‘‘run, hide, tell’’ dur­ing ter­ror at­tacks and has sug­gested Bri­tons should take on ji­hadists to save lives.

Nir Barkat, the mayor of Jerusalem, said people should ‘‘en­gage’’ the en­emy di­rectly. He also claimed that London was more dan­ger­ous than his own city after four at­tacks in the cap­i­tal in less than six months, in­clud­ing Fri­day’s bomb­ing at Par­sons Green.

‘‘When I fly here, I pray to safely come back home to Jerusalem.’’

The Is­raeli politi­cian in­di­cated that Europe had been ‘‘soft’’ with ex­trem­ist plot­ters and said UK po­lice should be rou­tinely armed and will­ing to carry out more pro­fil­ing of sus­pects.

‘‘The phase that Europe’s go­ing through now, we went through 15-20 years ago,’’ said Barkat dur­ing a trip to London last week.

‘‘We went through this phase of naive­ness [sic] and wish­ing that things will pass. Well, they don’t.

‘‘If you don’t take ac­tion and re­think how to en­gage with it in a smart way, it’s go­ing to con­tinue.’’

Se­nior fig­ures in Bri­tish in­tel­li­gence and anti-ter­ror­ist polic­ing have warned that the threat from Isis and other Is­lamist groups will last for ‘‘at least’’ a gen­er­a­tion.

Tipped by some as a fu­ture prime min­is­ter, Barkat be­lieves people some­times need to stand their ground un­til po­lice ar­rive.

‘‘We train our pub­lic to en­gage [the ter­ror­ists],’’ said the mayor. ‘‘Even if you are risk­ing your life, en­gage - be­cause you are sav­ing oth­ers.

‘‘Some­times you see Jerusalemites with a gui­tar, with a stick, with a broom ... en­gage, en­gage, en­gage.’’

Barkat said about a third of ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Jerusalem were foiled by the pub­lic rather than po­lice.

In 2015 the mayor made head­lines him­self when he sub­dued a Pales­tinian man try­ing to stab a Jewish vic­tim.

Barkat con­ceded that Is­raelis might have more ‘‘self-con­fi­dence’’ about tak­ing on an at­tacker be­cause most will have com­pleted a pe­riod of com­pul­sory mil­i­tary ser­vice.

But his ad­vice to Bri­tain is not with­out prece­dent. Dur­ing the London Bridge at­tack in June, Ig­na­cio Echev­er­ria, a Span­ish banker, helped to save a woman after try­ing to fight off the ter­ror­ists with a skate­board.

Echev­er­ria, 39, who was even­tu­ally over­whelmed and fa­tally stabbed, was posthu­mously awarded one of Spain’s high­est hon­ours.

‘‘He prob­a­bly saved many lives be­cause you slow down the ter­ror­ists,’’ said Barkat.

In Amer­ica, the FBI ad­vises the pub­lic to ‘‘run, hide, fight’’ en­cour­ag­ing people to con­front an at­tacker and ‘‘act with ag­gres­sion’’ if lives are at im­mi­nent risk.

Con­tro­ver­sially, Barkat ad­vo­cated pro­fil­ing - which might dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fect Mus­lims - to catch ter­ror­ists early.

- Sun­day Times

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