Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) Janet Napolitano today met bilaterally with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Israeli Finance Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, to discuss the ongoing partnership between the United States and Israel, threats from terrorism that both countries face, and DHS' commitment to working with Israel to expand operational and technological cooperation on homeland security issues.
"As a steadfast ally to Israel, the United States is committed to continuing our strong partnership to protect both countries against new and evolving terrorist threats," said Secretary Napolitano. "The Department of Homeland Security will continue to work closely with the Israeli government and other nations around the world to strengthen the security of the international aviation system, secure the global supply chain, protect our vital cyber networks and infrastructure, and enhance disaster preparedness and response capabilities."
In her meetings, Secretary Napolitano also discussed the Department's ongoing efforts to combat the illicit diversion and trafficking of precursor chemicals that terrorist and other criminal organizations use to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and the need for the United States and Israel to continue to work together to protect citizens of both countries from threats of terrorism.
Secretary Napolitano also visited Ben Gurion International Airport to meet with airport officials to discuss ways both nations are enhancing global aviation security while streamlining legitimate travel and trade. The United States and Israel work closely together to share information about terrorists and other individuals who may pose a security threat.
Following the attempted terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security worked with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and international partners--including the Israeli government, as well as the private sector--on a global initiative to strengthen the international aviation system against the evolving threats posed by terrorists. Following five regional aviation summits across five continents, 190 countries adopted a historic Declaration on Aviation Security at the ICAO Triennial Assembly in October, forging a historic new foundation for aviation security.
At U.S. airports, DHS utilizes a layered security approach, deploying law enforcement personnel, behavior detection officers, air marshals, and explosives detection canine teams as well as new Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) units to help detect metallic and non-metallic explosives; and implementing new, enhanced security measures for all passengers traveling to the United States. In November, Secretary Napolitano announced that 100 percent of passengers on flights from, within or bound for the United States are now being checked against government watchlists under the Transportation Security Administration's Secure Flight program--fulfilling a key 9/11 Commission recommendation a month ahead of schedule.
Following her departure from Israel, Secretary Napolitano will continue to Belgium on Jan. 5-6 to meet with her counterparts and discuss international efforts to ensure the security of our global aviation and supply chain systems against threats of terrorism and transnational crime, while facilitating the flow of legitimate travel and commerce. More details will be provided once they are finalized.