- On 03/15/2020
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Communication, Navigation & Intelligence are important elements in any Close Protection detail. When working Executive Protection in Israel these elements may be challenged by cultural barriers, language barriers and not to forget; the turbulent security situation.
In this post we will list our top 5 favorite mobile phone applications that will generally up your game and make life easier for you while on assignment in Israel. These apps will enhance your ability to:
– Navigate safely
– Quickly order reliable taxis
– Receive critical on-the-minute Intelligence updates
Driving and navigation in Israel can definitely get challenging at times. In order to avoid your principle giving you the “you had one job…” accusation, here is a (by now world renown) app.
The Waze app is by far the most popular vehicle GPS navigation app. in Israel. The large number of users enable it to provide accurate information and feedback on the ground. Regardless of the type of detail, being able to provide your principle with an accurate ETA is often well appreciated.
If you connect your mobile phone with a Bluetooth earpiece, you will be able to receive alerts on road conditions while driving, discretely. What we really like about Waze are the various categories of road-hazard alerts that it reports. Waze is able to give you a well appreciated “heads up” in areas effected by a security incident. These extra few seconds have proven very valuable while needing to determine to either change routes, stop or evade an attack. Our team has on various occasions had to alter routes due to stone-throwing and firebomb incidents that were initially reported through the Waze app.
Important note: The goal of the navigation app. is to get you from A to B as efficiently as possible, using the fastest route. Notably however, Waze does not differentiate between the West Bank and the rest of Israel. This means that anyone unfamiliar with local politics, roads and areas may find oneself entering Palestinian-controlled territory unplanned. This can become a very (as in very) unpleasant experience since you most likely will be driving in a car with Israeli license plates. Countless Israelis looking for a “quick route” home have driven into Palestinian territory this way unintendedly, of which the most extreme cases wound up close to being lynched by locals. The good news is that Waze has a special option to avoid driving in the West Bank if this is not your intention. Be sure to have this sorted out before your departure, especially when driving to Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and the Jordan Valley.
GetTaxi is another popular app in Israel. GetTaxi is Israel’s equivalent to Uber. The majority of taxis in Israel nowadays work with this app. This innovation has also created a new problem however; namely that it has become much harder to wave down taxis the “old fashioned way”. If you are an Advance Agent looking to get from A to B discretely and without having to worry about parking, this app will definitely be of value to you. Another good aspect of the GetTaxi app is your ability to request a specific vehicle class, immediately receive your driver’s ID, as well as the driver’s rating. You will also receive an ETA. Note: Just don’t forget to properly sign up and decide in advance if you are planning to pay by a pre-registered credit card or with cash (arguing with taxi drivers about this technicality is not recommended). General Note: As seasoned EP Agents know, having cash on you (in local currency) is a benchmark. Regardless of how convenient and innovative apps can be, they are still limited to a good internet connection; this can be problematic in several areas in Israel including popular destinations in Jerusalem. Bottom line, technology can do a lot of good, yet never at expense of the fundamentals.
Transportation in Tel Aviv
Whoever has visited Tel Aviv before, knows how hectic traffic can get. Most Executive Protection trips to Israel will visit Tel Aviv in some form or capacity. The most common types of advances in Tel Aviv typically are at: Hotels, high-tech offices and restaurants. Electric scooters have become a popular means of transportation in Tel Aviv by downloading an app and signing up, you will be able to quickly hop on one of the thousands of available electric scooters in the City and get from A to B fast and conduct your advance, while barely being affected by traffic. Another plus is the low-profile nature of this means of transportation. Electrical scooters have become so common and mainstream that moving around on one barely attracts any attention, an invaluable factor when doing low-profile or cover security work (compared to pulling up with a decked-out SUV). Although there are a few different companies that offer electrical scooters in Tel Aviv, the most widely available one is BIRD.
WhatsApp has become a highly popular messaging app all around the world. It goes without saying that it is an effective, popular and efficient way of communicating. Communication through WhatsApp is widespread in Israel. It is used for both informal and formal/business communication in Israel. We highly recommend getting a local internet/4G package for your mobile phone in Israel when visiting. This will allow you to make phone calls through WhatsApp. Another plus is WhatsApp’s option of sharing your location as well as turning on your live-location for a prolonged time. This adds up to just another layer of security and may serve as valuable info for your command center tracking the principle’s location.
Live Rocket Alerts
Over the past years, Israel and in particular the “Gaza Envelope” in Southern Israel have been hit by thousands of rockets fired by Gaza Strip-based terror groups. The IDF Home Front Command operates a highly advanced early warning system for rocket attacks and other national security incidents such as earthquakes. We highly recommend downloading the Home Front Command app in English and make sure your phone has a connection to 4G internet. The free app. will allow you to predesignate areas that you would like to receive rocket warnings from. Many Israelis, especially the ones living in the South consider this a life-saving app. The Rocket Alerts on the app are in sync with local, physical rocket sirens. Having this app is especially useful when driving on a highway with the windows closed (unable to physically hear rocket sirens sounded outside). Note. It goes without saying that reporting rocket alerts to your principle without being in the target area can cause unnecessary stress. We therefore consider the two most important reasons of downloading the app as: 1) Receiving critical on the minute rocket alerts that can save lives and 2) Staying informed so that your principle will not find out from a worried relative calling from overseas after having read about a rocket attack somewhere in Israel on the news before being updated by their security team. We recommend always having the Home Front Command app activated, pre-designated according to your itinerary and on vibrate mode.
Based on our experience of providing Close Protection in Israel, we highly recommend any Close Protection Agent to download and familiarize with these apps prior to visiting Israel. These apps will enable you to communicate, navigate and receive early rocket warnings during your trip to Israel more efficiently and effectively. Being able to get from A to B in a safe and efficient manner, combined with being able to communicate through popular, local means of communications paired with on-the-minute security updates from the IDF Home Front Command will provide you with an extra boost in security during your detail in Israel.
Thank you for having taken the time to read this blog post. If you found this post helpful then please feel free to like, comment and share. We are looking forward to hearing your feedback.
Stay tune for more upcoming blog posts on the close protection industry in Israel.
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