Israeli Security Offers Pointers to LAX
Three Israeli security experts received warm praise from local city officials after concluding a four-day recent inspection tour of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) recently.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa issued a statement during his Asia travels lauding the "peer-to-peer sharing of critical security measures in place at Ben-Gurion Airport."
City Councilman Jack Weiss, who hosted the Israeli delegation, said that the inspection visit was the first of its kind to any U.S. airport.
Heading the Israeli group was Nahum Liss, director of the security planning department at Ben-Gurion International Airport, joined by department officials Hadas Levitan and Alon Browon.
They were not available for comment and LAX officials declined to discuss specific recommendations for security reasons. However, LAX Commission President Alan Rothenberg told the Los Angeles Times that the Israeli experts "had a half dozen suggestions, some of them very low tech, some of them very high tech."
The Los Angeles airport is considered the prime terrorist target in California and its Tom Bradley International Terminal processes as many passengers annually as the Ben-Gurion airport, Rothenberg said.
In reporting the visit, the L.A. Times emphasized that "Israel airport security is recognized throughout the world as the gold standard," particularly for its "behavioral recognition tactics."
The Israeli delegation was invited by Weiss, who participated in a conference on homeland security in Israel earlier this year. "We came to appreciate that Israeli government officials have unique and valuable experience in protecting airports and airliners from terrorism and that they could be helpful partners in securing LAX," Weiss said.
"We hope that we can arrange to put this security exchange on a permanent footing," he added.
-- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
Education Programs Get Multimillion Dollar Boost
The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (JCF) recently announced that it had awarded grants totaling a record $57 million in 2005, up 33 percent from a year earlier.
The 52-year-old foundation, the largest manager of charitable assets for Jewish philanthropists in Los Angeles, distributed more than 1,300 grants last year to a variety of secular and religious causes.
"Whether the foundation's grants target the young, the elderly, the arts, education, or social services, we aim to make a real difference in people's lives," said Marvin I. Schotland, JCF president and chief executive.
With the foundation's total assets having jumped 83 percent over the past five years, JCF recently announced that it would award grants of up to $250,000 over a three-year period, compared to maximum grants of $50,000. As of Dec. 31, 2005, the foundation had $603 million in total assets.
Among the 2005 recipients of noteworthy JCF grants:
- Jewish World Watch, an anti-genocide advocacy group that has focused on the tragedy in Darfur, received $50,000 from JCF to help with its mission of educating and mobilizing the Jewish community against acts of genocide and inhumanity. JWW, since its inception two years ago, has raised a total $500,000 to build two medical clinics for refugees in Darfur and 50 water wells and other water systems mostly in Darfur, among other projects
- The Bureau of Jewish Education of Greater Los Angeles received $39,000 for a Hebrew language immersion program for children in Jewish elementary day schools.
- Aish Tamid of Los Angeles, received $10,000 for its Student Career Fair Conference, a one-day career fair for at-risk youth in the Orthodox community.
- Brandeis-Bardin Institute landed $20,000 for a camp-based program for high-school students and their parents that focuses on Jewish ethics, sexual development and responsible decision-making.
- The Library Education Project for Los Angeles, a StandWithUs program, received $50,000 to organize discussion groups, buy books and films and meet with librarians to help correct the perceived anti-Israel bias in many libraries.
- HaMercaz, a program that brings together several local Jewish agencies to coordinate and provide services to families of children with developmental disabilities and special needs, landed $48,700.
- The UCLA Center for Jewish Studies received $10,000 to help underwrite the costs of a two-day conference about the Jewish experience in Los Angeles.