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Friday, June 20, 2008

Voice Your Concern to the LA City Council About the Mayor's Trip to Israel and Security at LAX Being "Enhanced" by Israel

Speak to the Mayor & City Council
Express Concern Over the LA-Israel Delegation
& Agreements to use Israeli Consultants for LAX Security
Calling all Humanitarians ...
Join LA Jews for Peace
Wed., June 25th
9:30 AM
Los Angeles City Hall
200 North Spring Street
LA, CA 90012-4801

On Wednesday, June 25, LA Jews for Peace intends to make several short,
critical presentations to the Los Angeles City Council about the
Mayor's trip to
Israel. (The trip also included council members Weiss, Zine, & Gruehl). If
you would like to make a public comment, please join us at LA City Hall at
9:30 AM to sign up for public comments. The Council meets at 10 AM
and usually
places public remarks at the front of their agenda. If you can join us, to
speak or just to listen, please contact Marcy Winograd at

Our speakers will raise the following points:

- The trip served to legitimize the Israeli occupation of the West Bank &
the imprisonment and collective punishment of over a million Palestinians in

- The agreement for Israeli consulting on electronic surveillance may be
just the beginning of a more involved security contract with
representatives of
a foreign government

- The trip served the purpose of linking domestic political surveillance
through Homeland Security and the LAPD to their Israeli counterparts - all in
the name of anti-terrorism.

-- The taxpayer-subsidized delegation, led by Villaraigosa, amounted to
political pandering in anticipation of Villaraigosa'

s campaign for

Top airport security expert in Israel to inspect LAX anti-terror measures
During a visit to Israel by Mayor Villaraigosa, a pact is signed that will
bring the official and two colleagues to L.A. for periodic inspections as
$1,000-a-day consultants starting in the fall.
By Richard Boudreaux
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

June 14, 2008

LOD, ISRAEL ? Israel's top airport security official will make periodic
reviews of anti-terrorist measures at Los Angeles International
Airport under an
agreement signed Friday during a visit here by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The pact, formalizing an arrangement begun nearly two years ago, will send
the Israeli official, Nahum Liss, and two colleagues to Los Angeles for
regular inspections as $1,000-per-day consultants. The officials work for the
authority that operates Ben-Gurion International Airport.

Calling Ben-Gurion the world's safest airport, Villaraigosa said the
agreement "is going to put us in a position to learn . . . to implement
state-of-the-art technology and other measures to help us secure our

Starting in the fall, Liss and his team will visit LAX about twice a year
and provide additional consulting by e-mail, officials on both sides
said. The
team made a preliminary examination of LAX in October 2006.

The deal is part of an effort by city officials to upgrade security at LAX,
which is considered the state's No. 1 terrorist target and has been singled
out by the Al Qaeda network.

City Councilman Jack Weiss, who arranged the Israelis' 2006 visit, said the
agreement is believed to be the first between a U.S. airport authority and a
foreign government agency.

In the United States, federal authorities are responsible for security
inside airport terminals.

But Gina Marie Lindsey, who signed the agreement as executive director of
Los Angeles World Airports, said her agency wants to learn from Israel how to
fortify the perimeter of LAX and how to incorporate anti-terrorist strategies
into plans for expanding the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

In particular, she said, she wants to learn to apply Israel's system of
electronic scanning of automobile license plates to identify
terrorist suspects
as they approach the airport.

During a walking tour of Ben-Gurion's 4-year-old international terminal,
Liss pointed out to Villaraigosa and a large Los Angeles delegation
the security
features of its design. Bollards protect the building from wayward vehicles
and its tempered, shatter-resistant glass facade is reinforced by vertical
cables about a foot apart.

The terminal handles 55,000 passengers a day, about the same as the Bradley

"There's a recommendation they gave us," Villaraigosa said, pointing to one
of the $2,000 trash cans placed along the curb outside the terminal. The
cans, made of reinforced steel, serve as emergency receptacles for
any explosives
the police might find; from inside the can, the force of any blast would go
only upward.

In 1973, when Ben-Gurion was called Lod Airport, three suicide attackers
gunned down 26 passengers in the terminal. Three years later, a suitcase bomb
killed a passenger and wounded five others.

A hush fell over the mayor's delegation as Zeev Sarig, the airport
authority's managing director, told of witnessing those terrorist
acts and of Israel's
decades of work to make its airport security the gold standard.

"To have Israeli eyes on LAX on a constant basis, it's a huge deal," Weiss

Several Los Angeles officials said they were impressed by the unobtrusive
character of Israel's airport security and said they want to replicate it.

"You don't see a lot of guards walking around with machine guns," Lindsey
said. "And we certainly don't want that either."

While security was high on the mayor's agenda for his six-day visit, he
couldn't escape the blow of the Lakers' humiliation back home in Game
4 of the
NBA playoffs. The game was in progress when he awoke here Friday, 10 hours
ahead of Pacific time.

More than an hour later, during a meeting at the airport, El Al airlines
Chairman Israel Borovich received a written note from an aide, turned to the
mayor and announced: "You know what it says here? The Lakers lost."

"Trust me," Villaraigosa replied, rolling his eyes. "You think I didn't know

The defeat followed him to Sderot. The town has been battered for years by
Palestinian rocket attacks from nearby Gaza Strip, and Villaraigosa went to
show solidarity.

He brought 15 basketballs for the Tornai Madaim elementary school and a
Lakers' shirt bearing the number 24 and Kobe Bryant's name for Sderot
Mayor Eli
Moyal, who greeted him in the schoolyard.

"Let me tell you this, my friends in Boston will hate me for this," Moyal
said, declaring himself a Celtics' fan.

The two men laughed.

"Tell them you've got a good friend in Los Angeles," Villaraigosa said.

In February, Villaraigosa supported a "Live for Sderot" concert in Los
Angeles that raised $300,000 for the town's schools, which the
Israeli government
matched. On Friday he visited Alon High School to see one of the benefits, a
classroom computer with a wireless Internet connection and projected onto a
large "smart board" screen.

At both schools, Villaraigosa stood with Moyal and praised his bravery in
the face of the rockets.

"That courage of his comes from the courage he sees in all of you, the young
people of Sderot," the mayor said. "In Los Angeles, we are aware of your

"We love your mayor," he added, "even though he's a Celtics fan."


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