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U.S.-MexicoIsraeli security-fence company lobbies to build Trump’s wall

Published 6 February 2017

Shares of Israeli security company Magal Security Systems Ltd. jumped 5.6 percent on 27 January, the day after Donald Trump told Fox News a security barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border could stop most border breaches. The company’s shares have risen nearly 50 percent since Trump’s election. Trump said a wall would be effective in preventing illegal immigration from Mexico. “All you have to do is ask Israel,” he told Fox News. “They were having a total disaster coming across, and they had a wall. It’s 99.9 percent stoppage.”

Shares of Israeli security company Magal Security Systems Ltd.  jumped 5.6 percent on 27 January, the day after Donald Trump told Fox News a security barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border could stop most border breaches. The company’s shares have risen nearly 50 percent since Trump’s election.

Trump said a wall would be effective in preventing illegal immigration from Mexico. “All you have to do is ask Israel,” he told Fox News. “They were having a total disaster coming across, and they had a wall. It’s 99.9 percent stoppage.”

Magal has been lobbying politicians and businesspeople in Washington this past week in effort to be the prime contractor to build Trump’s Mexican border wall.

Trump praised of Israel’s success in bolstering its security by building advanced fencing systems around the Gaza Strip and along parts of the border between Israel and the West Bank.

Forward reports that executives from Magal’s U.S.-based Senstar unit demonstrated the company’s FiberPatrol product at a 31 January conference on border security. Officials from the DHS and other federal agencies talked to the gathering of defense contractors in Alexandria, Virginia.

Magal Chief Executive Officer Saar Koursh said that the his company’s defensive system embeds fiber-optic sensors in long stretches of fences and walls, noting that the system is already used for perimeter security at airports and seaports around the world.

“We have the right product and we have the experience in Israel that helps in showcasing our product,” Koursh said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg on 26 January.

Forwardnotes that Magal was a major contractor on Israel’s West Bank barrier, a stretch of sensor-equipped fences and concrete walls which was begun in 2002 to counter Palestinian suicide-bombings. The company has also helped build a fence along Israel’s border with Egypt, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented on Saturday as an example for Trump’s Mexican wall.

“President Trump is right,” Netanyahu said on Twitter. “I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”

Netanyahu’s intervention prompted a statement of “profound surprise, rejection and disappointment” from Mexico’s Foreign Ministry, and criticism from Mexico’s Jewish community.

Netanyahu was referring to Israel’s “specific security experience which we are willing to share,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said later on Twitter. “We do not express a position on U.S.-Mexico relations.”

The wall Israel has built along its border with the West Bank has been a source of controversy. In order to protect Jewish settlement built on occupied Palestinian land, the wall intrudes on private Palestinian land. In 2004, in an advisory opinion, the International Court of Justice aid that portions of the wall built in occupied territory were illegal.