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02/08/2018 09:00:07 AM


Frank Solomon

Did you know the U.S. government’s first official counterterrorism office was created in response to an attack on Israelis? In fact, many of the components of the U.S. responses to terrorism were prompted by developments affecting Israel.

During his Shabbat morning guest lecture on Jan. 27, Michael Kraft, a 19-year veteran of the U.S. State Department’s counterterrorism office, shared these and many other insights about about American cooperation with Israel and other allies in combating terrorism. Kraft spoke at Congregation Har Tzeon-Agudath Achim in Silver Spring, Maryland.

In 1972, Palestinian terrorists kidnapped and killed 11 Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics. This attack prompted the U.S. to establish a formalized counterterrorism effort. “In reaction to the killings and the botched German rescue operation, President Nixon established the first U.S. government interagency counterterrorism organization,” Kraft said. That effort led to the creation of the Office for Combating Terrorism, which is now known as the Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism, in the State Department.

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