Israel Police and security forces bolstered their presence around the country as law enforcement reported on Monday that warnings of imminent terrorist attacks preceding the tense holidays have increased by 15% compared to the previous couple of months.
There have been three attempted attacks since Tuesday morning - two shootings targeting an IDF position in the West Bank and a military patrol vehicle in the HaGilboa region, as well as an attempted stabbing near greater Jerusalem that was successfully thwarted.
Deputy Commissioner Sigal Bar-Zvi, chief of the police's Operations Division said the police are collaborating with other security agencies, including Shin Bet and the IDF, to conduct joint assessments of the current security situation to address the recent spike in alerts leading up to the Jewish holiday season.
Bar-Zvi clarified that the uptick in incitement to terror and attack warnings has led the police to work closely with Border Police. The focus is on increasing security in areas particularly vulnerable to attacks, including places of worship and recreational centers across the country, to ensure a safe and peaceful holiday season.
The police are calling on civilians who hold a firearm permit to carry their weapons at all times during the holiday season for self-defense purposes. "A large number of people tend to attend prayers at synagogues and organized prayer centers. We anticipate an increase in the number of warnings leading up to Yom Kippur," the police explained.
"Therefore, we urge worshippers who possess a licensed firearm to bring it with them to prayers. Additionally, we call on the general public to remain vigilant and report any unusual incidents in real-time to the police hotline, dial 100."
The police are increasingly concerned about the growing efforts of terrorist organizations to manipulate and encourage Palestinian youth to carry out attacks in Israel and the West Bank. To that end, terror groups are using social media to spread disinformation and incite violence. Bar-Zvi clarified that the police closely monitor online posts and actively track instances of incitement.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 130 attacks and attempted attacks, resulting in the loss of 31 lives. This marks a significant increase compared to the same period in 2022, when the number of incidents was only half of the current figure, despite that year also experiencing notable terrorist activity.
'Those who failed to commit terror attacks on Rosh Hashanah will try again'
On the morning before Rosh Hashanah last Friday, an explosive device was set off in Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park. There were no reports of injuries or property damage. After the holiday, a senior police official informed Ynet and its sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth that they had received numerous warnings about potential attacks. Highlighting the need for heightened awareness, the official assured that law enforcement would maintain the utmost level of preparedness, extending beyond Jerusalem to the entire country.
The official further highlighted that the motivation to carry out attacks within Israel was evident on the eve of the holiday. It is the working assumption of the police that those who seek to undermine the sense of security and disrupt the holiday will persist in their attempts, even if they were unsuccessful on Rosh Hashanah.
Jerusalem and the West Bank are focal points for terror attack warnings, and one concern within the Israeli defense establishment involves the difficulty of tracking Palestinian laborers entering Israeli territory.
Just in the past week, Border Police have detained 371 individuals residing in Israel without proper permits. Special attention is being directed toward cities with mixed Jewish and Arab populations, such as Jaffa, Lod and Acre.