by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
As Americans prepare to elect a new president, they must do so recognizing that whomever they choose will have to navigate the country through disaster.
Every president must face crises, without knowing in advance what those crises will be. In seeking for guidance on how to confront this difficult situation, the next president can take lessons from Israel when it comes to dealing with disasters.
One thing Israel has in spades in resilience, the ability to bounce back after taking a blow. Americans can tick off the major domestic terror attacks the country has faced on one hand: 9/11, Oklahoma City, the Boston Marathon bombing, San Bernardino. Israel, in contrast, has suffered through far too many terror attacks to count. Furthermore, these attacks have been from a multitude of types: suicide bombings, bus attacks, missile launches, hijackings, attacks on Olympic athletes, assassinations, and many more. But Israel has shown a remarkable resilience in the face of these attacks. After a terror attack, the authorities respond, clean-up crews spring into action, and storeowners—sooner, rather than later—reopen shuttered establishments.
This kind of resiliency does not emerge accidentally. Israel puts both resources and effort into its resiliency project. According to Meir Elran, director of Israel’s Homeland Security Program, resilience among the civilian population requires preparation, information dissemination, and leadership, especially at the local level. …
… Going forward, the United States must be prepared to provide this kind of leadership as well.
From radical Islamic groups— such as Islamic State—penetrating social media as a means of inspiring and recruiting jihadi fighters, to Chinese and Russian hackers accessing government records, the US must be able to have the resources and capabilities to combat both cyber and conventional threats, and be resilient in response to successful attacks. If a small, powerful country like Israel can learn these lessons, the US should be able to follow suit.