'You are guarding the borders of the State of Israel'

President Rivlin visits training base of the Border Police. "Thank you for allowing everyone's personal security."

Orli Harari ,

Rivlin in drill simulating terrorist attack in the Old City of Jerusalem
Rivlin in drill simulating terrorist attack in the Old City of Jerusalem
Mark Neiman/GPO

President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday evening visited the training base of the Border Police.

The president was escorted by acting Israel Police Moti Cohen and Border Police Commander Yaakov Shabtai, who also briefed the President on the challenges facing the Border Police in various operational fields.

During his visit, the president observed a variety of the force’s capabilities, included fighting in urban areas such as the alleys of the Old City of Jerusalem, replicated in a training facility at the base, seizing control of a bus hijacked by a terrorist and a demonstration by the anti-terrorist unit of fighting terrorists in a rural area.

The president thanked the men and women and the senior command staff, headed by acting Commissioner Moti Cohen, and said, "I visit you from time to time, and I meet you where you are guarding the borders of the State of Israel that you are responsible for keeping safe.”

Rivlin added, "I want to thank you for allowing everyone's personal security and our ability to live our lives, even in times of tension and threat. The army is the people's army, and you are the people's police."

The President commented on the growing demand from young Israelis to join the Border Police, and was introduced to twin soldiers Roni and Eden Weizman of Ashdod, 19, who insisted on joining the Border Guard and greeted them warmly.

He also praised the commanders of the unit for their work. The President referred to the wave of protest among the Ethiopian community and stressed that every citizen who feels the need for it has the right to protest.

"I know that the police knows and fights for the right of every citizen to express their opinion, about freedom of speech, the ability to criticize, to comment, and the ability to complain," added the President. "I am sure the police is checking itself and that you will do everything in your power to examine the details and facts that need looking into and then draw conclusions and learn lessons.”

The President also emphasized that alongside the need to allow protests, the police must ensure that they do not spill over into lawlessness. He emphasized that he fully supports the police in its mission to ensure that this does not happen. "If we allow anarchy, what will become of us?" the President said, and thanked the fighters and the commanders for their warn reception and the fascinating visit.

Commander of the Border Police, Maj Gen Yaakov Shabtai, said, "This is a historic visit for us - the first time that the President of the State of Israel has made an official visit to the training base of the Border Police, where thousands of men and women are trained, and who serve the State of Israel every day of the year, day and night, holidays and Shabbat to keep Israel’s citizens safe. Before you, Mr. President, are hundreds of men and women - Bedouins, Circassians, Druze, Christians, Jews and many others. This force proudly brings together all parts of Israeli society. This is our pride and this is our most precious resource, the human resource. We are proud to serve the people of Israel and thank you for the inspiration, support and spirit you give us."

Acting Israel Police Commissioner Moti Cohen said, "Mr. President, let me first thank you for this visit. For us, this is an important and significant visit, especially at a time when the police face very complex challenges. We deal with complex protests, always working to maintain the balance between freedom of speech and protest on one hand and public order, public safety and the rule of law on the other. This is a very delicate balance, and it is very important for us to preserve it as far as possible.”

“As far as I am concerned, your visit is an expression of support and encouragement and it carries great significance for me and for all of us. The Israel Police is everyone’s police force, whose mottos is to ‘Serve and Protect’ all sectors of Israeli society, regardless of religion, gender or ethnicity,” he added.

“The Israel Police and the Border Guard which is part of it are really a mirror image of Israeli society. The Border Police is the fighting arm of the police, and is deployed at on the front line and is entrusted with complex and important missions. It has very high operational capabilities, some of which we have shown you today. Again, I am very pleased with the visit and thank you for taking the time to come," concluded Cohen.