When the United States was attacked by radical Islamic jihadists on 9/11/2001, the country was faced with the reality that it was unprepared for how the handle massive attacks on its shores. It turned to an ally who had developed systems to keep its citizens safe from harm.
Israel has long suffered from jihadist terrorists killing civilians.
In July 1968, Palestinian Arabs hijacked an El Al flight from Rome to Tel Aviv. It was the last time an Israeli airline was hijacked as the government began to institute several security measures to protect the flights.
Palestinian terrorists would continue to target airplanes including a massive operation in September 1970 in an attacked called the “Dawson’s Field Hijackings” in which members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijacked four planes heading to New York and one to London.
Other hijackings by Palestinian Arab terrorists included:
- February 22, 1972: Lufthansa Flight 649
- May 8, 1972: Sabena Flight 571
- October 29, 1972: Lufthansa Flight 615
- July 20, 1973: Japan Airlines Flight 404
- November 25, 1973: KLM Boeing 747
- June 27, 1976: Air France Flight 139
- October 13, 1977: Lufthansa Flight 181
- November 23, 1985: EgyptAir Flight 648
Airplane hijackings continued around the world with as many as dozens every year until Muslim terrorists hijacked four planes on September 11, 2001 in a coordinated attack which killed nearly 3,000 people. It was already the eighth airplane hijacking in the new decade, not two years old. The scale of the attack, casualties and damage made countries and airlines take many new precautions, adopting policies that Israel had been using for decades such as pre-flight interviews and screening luggage and passengers. The 2010’s decade had nine airplane hijackings, down from sixty in the 1970’s.
Response to Mass Casualty Attacks
The sheer scale of the attacks on civilians in the streets and office buildings of U.S. were beyond standard emergency protocols. America had waged wars abroad, but the scale of the terrorism against ordinary people going to work overwhelmed the local emergency response teams.
America turned to Israel for assistance, which had long been forced to respond to Palestinian Arab terrorists killing civilians in the streets.
In early September 2003, two years after the attacks on the United States, New York City hosted a major symposium on the medical response to mass casualty attacks. One of the speakers was Rabbi Dr. David Applebaum who flew to New York City from Jerusalem, Israel to address the audience. Dr. Applebaum was the head of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s Department of Emergency Medicine and was often the first responder at the scene of terrorist attacks. He was well recognized for developing innovative methods for handling emergency situations and tracking patients, introducing time- and life-saving techniques.
Dr. Applebaum flew back to Jerusalem a few days before the end of the symposium for his daughter, Nava’s wedding. The night before the wedding, on September 9, he took his 20-year old daughter out for a late dinner and a father-daughter talk. A Palestinian Arab walked into Cafe Hillel where they sat and blew up the restaurant, killing Dr. Applebaum, his daughter and five other diners ranging in age from 22 to 52. The Palestinian political party and terrorist group Hamas claimed responsibility.
Israel and the United States have been the victims of terrorism for decades and continue to come under attack. They will continue to fight the scourge of hatred together.
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