Aviation Security Authority – the initiative was buried like other programs for protecting Israel’s civilian aviation.
No serious discussion about the matter was conducted and the Prime Minister took the position of the Treasury.
By Arie Egozi
In Israel, even when a minister tries to correct a mistake that has lasted years, he is not always allowed to do so and moreover, his plan is not always supported by the Prime Minister. What is happened is that the Security Authority initiated by the Minister of Transport Israel Katz was buried and the last shovelful of dirt were thrown on its coffin.
Three years ago the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Israel Katz, announced his intentions to establish a national security authority for Israeli aviation. Today El-Al is the contractor to the security services for itself as well as Israel’s other two airlines Arkia and Israir.
This strange situation has created a lot of friction between the airlines in recent years. The establishment of a aviation Security Authority would have streamlined service to all Israeli airlines according to Minister Katz’s opinion. Well known security experts determined that the aviation authority would be more effective and less costly in the long run. Such an Authority would also prevent any claims of unfairness by Arkia and Israir as opposed to the existing arrangement where their competitor, El-Al, provides them with security services.
Immediately after the Minister of Transportation announced his plans, the CEO of El-Al, Eliezer Shkedi, sent him a letter announcing that his company would discontinue the provision of security services for Arkia and Israir. The Minister asked El-Al not to change the existing security arrangements of the other two airlines and the approval was granted. It was hoped that the Security Authority would be established.
The Minister of Transportation had forgotten one fact – the Ministry of Finance undermines almost any program even if it is essential. When this happened again the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, did not support Minister Katz.
There is no sense in which El-Al, an airline whose shares are traded publicly, would supply security services to two other competing airlines. But Israel is Israel and even temporary situations, which may be twisted, remain stable.
The Security Aviation Authority is vital and urgent needed to deal with ongoing security threats. But Israel, which has not yet acted on the governments’ decision to install systems against aircraft shoulder missiles, is now involved in a situation where the twisted situation continuous.
The Prime Minister should have supported this vital initiative but seemingly prefers not to quarrel with the Minister of Finance. This is a method which permits a lot of good initiatives to be buried and to deprive ministers of their motivation to support future ones.