Facts about Israeli border wall prove tricky for Arizona's top educator

By Nick R. Martin | June 15th, 2010 | 12:05 am | 4 Comments »

Israeli barrier
A portion of the barrier being built by Israel in 2004 in the West Bank. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Tom Horne
Tom Horne

Tom Horne, the head of Arizona’s public school system, drew huge applause from a crowd of tea partiers earlier this month when he said Israel’s war on terror proves that the U.S. needs to build a wall along the Mexican border.

“Israel totally put a stop to terrorism by building their wall,” said Horne, a Republican whose final term as school superintendent ends after this year and who is vying to become the state’s next attorney general.

The “only way” to stop illegal immigration and drug smuggling in the U.S. “once and for all is to finish building the wall,” he told the Scottsdale audience on June 3 during the first Republican debate of the attorney general’s race.

Despite the applause he received, however, Horne is wrong about terrorism in Israel. Far from eliminated, such attacks remain a regular occurrence there.

The Israeli government even releases monthly reports about the number of attacks carried out within its borders and makes those reports available online.

In April, for instance, the Israeli Security Agency reported 56 terrorist attacks in that month alone. Only one of those — a rock thrown at a car — caused any injury. Ten of the attacks involved mortars launched from the Gaza Strip.

A month prior, in March, the ISA reported 125 terrorist attacks, including a shooting that killed two Israeli officers and a rocket attack that killed a foreign worker. Those numbers also included 79 attacks involving Molotov cocktails, 25 rockets that hit and three explosive devices that were set off.

Hear what he said
Tom Horne says, “Israel totally put a stop to terrorism by building their wall.”

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Heat City reached the superintendent by phone last week to ask him where he got his information that terrorism was no longer a problem in Israel.

“I think that was pretty common knowledge,” Horne said. “It’s been all over the newspapers.”

Asked which newspapers had reported it, Horne could not name one. When told, then, about the number of attacks in just those two months, he was momentarily speechless.

“How do they define a terrorist attack?” Horne said finally.

The education chief insisted he had made the same statement at numerous campaign events and no one questioned him about it before.

But instead of changing his mind after hearing the facts, Horne stuck to his story. He said he remained certain of his claim’s accuracy despite what the Israeli government reported.

“I’ll stand by it,” he said. “I’m talking about something that there is pretty common knowledge about.”


  • Janice

    Thanks for asking the question that nobody else asked Nick! It’s disturbing that even after being presented facts, Mr. Horne stuck to his statements. This makes me wonder what other things he doesn’t know or how he’ll handle problems when presented facts contrary to his beliefs?

  • Janice

    Thanks for asking the question that nobody else asked Nick! It's disturbing that even after being presented facts, Mr. Horne stuck to his statements. This makes me wonder what other things he doesn't know or how he'll handle problems when presented facts contrary to his beliefs?

  • http://twitter.com/iamdraize iam draize

    israel is OCCUPYING someone elses land. the US should not emulate Israel

  • http://twitter.com/iamdraize iam draize

    israel is OCCUPYING someone elses land. the US should not emulate Israel