Israel’s public safety efforts

Quick facts:

  • Israel is renowned for its efforts to preserve public safety, using intelligence, technology and compassion
  • Israel has applied this combination in a variety of realms, from national security to developing a date-rape drug detector, and a device that detects debris on airport runways that can pose lethal threats to airliners.
  • Israel has also shared certain of its discoveries with adversarial and allied nations alike

XSight’s FODetector at work on the runway.


Israeli ‘foldable’ electric cars to make debut as emergency response vehicles; City Transformer signs $22m deal to provide United Hatzalah with vehicles that can contract to just 1 meter wide for easy parking and maneuvering, by Ricky Ben-David, Times of Israel, October 17, 2021. Excerpt:

City Transformer, the Israeli automotive company behind an electric car that can shrink in size to squeeze into parking spots, announced a new partnership with the emergency medical response organization United Hatzalah to incorporate the startup’s “foldable” urban vehicles into the organization’s fleet.

The deal would make United Hatzalah, which operates a network of trained volunteers with specially equipped motorcycle ambulances, a major client of City Transformer.

Founded in 2014, the company developed the CT-1 electric car, a 2.49-meter long (8.2 feet) and 1.4-meter wide vehicle with a patent-registered folding mechanism that can contract the wheelbase down to just one meter (39 inches) wide for easy parking or maneuvering through traffic. Inside, there is room for a driver and another adult, sitting in tandem. Alternatively, the passenger seat can take two children. The cabin does not shrink or change shape as the wheelbase narrows.

The vehicle runs up to 45 kilometers an hour (28 mph) in its narrow mode and up to 90 kph when wide. It remains a static length, and can go 100-150 kilometers (62-93 miles) on a single charge.

A City Transformer CT1 vehicle with the United Hatzalah colors and logo. (Illustration – City Transformer)


Cockroaches and lizards inspire an amphibious robot; New high-speed amphibious robot can swim, run on top of water and crawl on difficult terrain for agricultural, excavation and search-and-rescue uses, by Danya Belkin, Israel21C, December 30, 2020. Excerpt:

Cockroaches and lizards were the inspiration for a new high-speed amphibious robot developed at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). The robot can swim, run on top of water and crawl on difficult terrain.

Bioinspired and Medical Robotics Laboratory Director David Zarrouk and graduate student Avi Cohen presented the mechanical design of the AmphiSTAR robot and its control system at the virtual IROS (International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems) that continues this month.

“The AmphiSTAR uses a sprawling mechanism inspired by cockroaches, and it is designed to run on water at high speeds like the basilisk lizard,” says Zarrouk. “We envision that AmphiSTAR can be used for agricultural, search and rescue and excavation applications, where both crawling and swimming are required.”

AmphiSTARis a wheeled robot fitted with propellers whose axes can be tilted using the sprawl mechanism. The propellers can serve as wheels or fins at high speeds of 1.5 meters per second (m/s) depending on the terrain.

Air tanks allow the robot to float and transition between high speeds when hovering on water to lower speeds when swimming, and from crawling to swimming and vice versa.


Ben-Gurion University researchers determine how to accurately pinpoint malicious drone operators, by Eureka Alert!, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, July 8, 2020. Excerpt:

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have determined how to pinpoint the location of a drone operator who may be operating maliciously or harmfully near airports or protected airspace by analyzing the flight path of the drone.

Drones (small commercial unmanned aerial systems) pose significant security risks due to their agility, accessibility and low cost. As a result, there is a growing need to develop methods for detection, localization and mitigation of malicious and other harmful aircraft operation.

The paper, which was led by senior lecturer and drone expert Dr. Gera Weiss from BGU’s Department of Computer Science, was presented at the Fourth International Symposium on Cyber Security, Cryptography and Machine Learning (CSCML 2020) on July 3rd.

“Currently, drone operators are located using RF techniques and require sensors around the flight area which can then be triangulated,” says lead researcher Eliyahu Mashhadi, a BGU computer science student. “This is challenging due to the amount of other WiFi, Bluetooth and IoT signals in the air that obstruct drone signals.”

The researchers trained a deep neural network to predict the location of drone operators, using only the path of the drones, which does not require additional sensors. “Our system can now identify patterns in the drone’s route when the drone is in motion, and use it to locate the drone operator” Mashhadi says.

When tested in simulated drone paths, the model was able to predict the operator location with 78% accuracy. The next step in the project would be to repeat this experiment with data captured from real drones.


Israeli Intelligence Continues to Help Thwart Terrorist Attacks Abroad, by IPT News, December 26, 2019. Excerpt:

Denmark’s security authorities foiled several jihadist terrorist attacks earlier this month after arresting 20 suspects in raids throughout the country. That same week, two brothers were sentenced to long prison terms in Australia after planning to down a commercial airplane on behalf of the Islamic State group in 2017. These developments point to a rising trend in thwarted jihadist terror plots.

But the two cases also share another commonality: Israel’s intelligence services reportedly played an integral role in stifling the mass-casualty plots. Denmark and Australia join a long list of countries that relied on Israeli intelligence to prevent serious violence around the world.

According to Israel’s Channel 12 news, information from Israel’s Mossad foreign intelligence service helped Danish authorities prevent attacks shortly before they were to be executed. Prosecutors allege that two of the suspects tried to purchase guns and ammunition “to be used in connection with one or several terror attacks in Denmark or abroad.” The Copenhagen City Court also ordered two other suspects remain imprisoned for allegedly attempting to build several explosive devices.


Mossad foiled 50 ISIS terror attacks in 20 countries, including Turkey, Jerusalem Post, July 9, 2019. Excerpt:

The Mossad and the IDF Intelligence branch prevented 50 terror attacks by ISIS and Iran in the past three years, many of them in Tukey, Channel 12 reported on Tuesday.

Twelve of the attacks were prevented in Turkey itself, which succeeded in foiling them thanks to Israeli-provided information to Turkish security services.

Relations between Israel and Turkey have been tense since 2010, when the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara attempted to break the blockade on Gaza and were intercepted by IDF forces in a violent incident that led to the death of nine of activists on board. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an outspoken critic of Israel, and hasn’t left out an opportunity to display his dismay of the Jewish State.

Nevertheless, according to the report, the Turkish government received the necessary intel by Israel’s security service to ensure that terror attacks could be prevented on its soil.


Mossad agents snuck nuclear files out of Iran with authorities ‘on their tails’, Times of Israel, May 2, 2018. Excerpt:

TV reports say Israel utilized expansive operational infrastructure on Iranian soil; PM’s exposé said aimed chiefly at IAEA; unconfirmed report of mass arrests in Iran after breach.

Agents of Israel’s spy agency Mossad smuggled hundreds of kilograms of paper and digital files on Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program out of the Islamic Republic with Iranian agents “on their tails,” Hadashot television news reported Tuesday night, based on briefings by Israeli officials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed the operation Monday as he displayed the trove of documents in a presentation aimed at proving that Iran has lied about its covert atomic weapons program.

The operation required an expansive operational infrastructure within Iranian territory, Hadashot reported.

The warehouse storing the files was located in the Shorabad suburb in southern Tehran, in an industrial area. Mossad discovered the warehouse in February 2016, and had had the building under surveillance since then. Before arriving at the site, the secret archives had been moved by Iranian authorities several times in a bid to keep their whereabouts a secret.

Safes inside a warehouse in Shorabad, south Tehran, where Mossad agents discovered and extracted tens of thousands of secret files pertaining to Iran’s nuclear weapons program (Prime Minister’s Office)


Israelis invent date rape drug detector, by Sammy Hudes, YNet, November 8, 2011. Excerpt:

Tel Aviv University researchers say personal sensor they developed is 100% accurate.

Two Tel Aviv University researchers say that they have developed a personal sensor that can detect the presence of the most common date rape drugs in beverages, 100% of the time.

Date rape drugs, also known as club drugs, have sedative and/or amnesiac effects that facilitate sexual exploitation. The majority of victims are teens and young adults at trance parties, clubs and bars.

Data published by the US Department of Justice suggest that approximately 200,000 women were raped in the United States with the aid of date rape drugs in 2007 alone. However, only 16% of the victims reported the incidents to the proper authorities. Experts believe that around half a million women per year may currently be suffering from date rape.

According to Professor Fernando Patolsky and Doctor Michael Ioffe of Tel Aviv University’s school of chemistry, the sensor can tell someone, in real-time, whether or not their drink has been altered. The next stage of the project is to miniaturize the system for mass production.

The two developers created the system, which is based on optical signal changes. The device sucks up a tiny drop of the suspect beverage and puts it in contact with a patented chemical formula.

If a drug is present, it will react with the chemical formula, causing it to change from a clear state to a dirtier one. When a ray of light comes into contact with a beverage spiked with a date rape drug, a signal change occurs and the system will alert the user.


Have a safe flight, thanks to Israel’s XSight, by Abigail Klein Leichman, ISRAEL21C, August 1, 2012. Excerpt:

Runway debris costs about $14 billion in damages yearly. That’s why the FAA likes an Israeli system to detect birds and metal fragments 24/7.

Lots of people complain about airplane food, but what about FOD?

That acronym, which stands for “foreign object debris,” refers to stuff on the runway – birds, small animals and fragments that break off planes – causing far more dangerous problems than rubbery rolls on your dinner tray.

The Israeli company XSight Systems has swooped in to prevent harm in a unique way that’s already been adopted at international airports in Boston, Paris, Bangkok and Tel Aviv.

Using integrated radar and electro-optical sensors in a fixed installation on the runway, XSight’s FODetect system “was able to detect the objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials on runway surfaces and perform satisfactorily in nighttime, daytime, sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow conditions,” according to a US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) report issued in June.

XSight’s FODetector at work on the runway.