The Daily Wire Speaks With Author And Former Israeli Mayor David Rubin About The Effectiveness Of Border Walls

David Rubin poses in an old structure close to the Tabernacle site at the Jewish settlement of Shiloh, West Bank, on Sept. 9, 2008.
Photo by Ahikam Seri/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, author David Rubin has lived in Israel for approximately 27 years, and is the former mayor of Shiloh, Israel, which is located in Samaria (the West Bank).

In 2001, about a year after his stint as mayor came to an end, Rubin and his three-year-old son were attacked by Palestinian terrorists while driving back from Jerusalem. The terrorists opened fire on Rubin’s vehicle from the side of the road using AK-47s.

"I was shot in the leg, while my son was shot in the head. We both miraculously survived the attack. The bullet that hit my son’s head and neck missed his brain stem by just one millimeter," Rubin says.

After "years of operations" and "post-trauma therapies," Rubin decided to start a non-profit called the Shiloh Israel Children's Fund. The organization’s purpose is to help "heal the trauma of terror-victim children and to restore some of the lost innocence of childhood."

Rubin began writing about his experiences after being encouraged to do so. His most recent book, "Trump and the Jews," hit shelves on October 1.

Rubin is an advocate for the president’s proposed wall along the southern border of the United States, comparing it to the wall between Israel and Egypt, which has allegedly kept illegal immigration at a low in Israel.

The Daily Wire spoke with Rubin about the ways in which the wall in southern Israel can serve as a model for a wall on the southern border of the United States.

DW: What is the nature of Israel's immigration problem and why did the government decide to build a wall?

RUBIN: Well, for a very long time, Israel has had legal immigration, but in the year 2010, all of a sudden there was a massive flow of illegal immigration coming primarily from two countries – the Sudan and Eritrea.

Between 2010 and 2012, there were 55,000 immigrants that came in illegally through the southern border between Egypt and Israel, which, up to that point, really had no serious physical barrier. There were makeshift fences, and there were many patrols and some scanning devices, but mostly a lot of patrols. So, they couldn't stop them and there were 55,000 that came in. Most of them moved to southern Tel Aviv.

Southern Tel Aviv, which was once a working class neighborhood but not an unsafe place, suddenly became a hotbed of street crime, murders, and rapes – something that was really unheard of. There’s a lot of terrorism in Israel, and that’s understood, but all of a sudden there was a lot of street crime and the people were very upset; they demanded that the government do something about it.

So, the Israeli government made a decision to put down a physical barrier, and they built a wall (some people would call it a fence because it's not totally hermetic visually). You can see through it, but it's made of very powerful steel. It’s a very strong, high-tech wall, and Israel is known for its tech capabilities. At the border, it’s a combination of a very strong physical barrier, very strong high-tech protections, and of course patrols, but the patrols are the smallest part of it. So in 2014-2015, the wall was finished. In 2016, there were 11 illegal immigrants that came in. That was after the 55,000 that came in between 2010 and 2012. As they were the building the wall, the number of illegal entries slowly went down, and in 2016, only 11 immigrants came in illegally. In 2017, zero immigrants came in illegally.

It’s been very successful, and I think it proves the point that you cannot only have high-tech answers or manpower-related answers to a serious problem like illegal immigration. You need to have that physical barrier to go with it.

DW: How have the crime statistics changed after the erection of the barrier?

RUBIN: Way down. Well, there are still a lot of illegal immigrants. There is still a lot of crime in south Tel Aviv. Most of the 55,000 illegal immigrants are still here even though some have gone back. Some have returned to Eritrea or Sudan, but the effect on crime has gone down substantially since then.

DW: How in your mind is a wall on the southern border of the United States similar to the one in Israel?

RUBIN: They are similar in principle; the essential problem is exactly the same. We're talking about people coming into the country who aren't necessarily the most desirable people, or the people that the country wants. It's not a merit-based immigration system. They're coming in illegally. In addition to that, in both cases, the immigrants are mostly males, and so when you have some 80% that are young men, it’s kind of suspicious and it's not favorable to the country.

In my book, "Trump and the Jews," I did some extensive research about Jews in America. Not just the Jews, but also the Italian immigrants, the Irish immigrants, the Chinese immigrants. These are people that came mostly as families, and they mostly came to be productive members of the country, and they came in legally. So it's a very different kind of immigration.

The bottom line is that it’s not legal and people are coming in forcefully. No free country has an obligation to self-destruct from an uninterrupted and unregulated flow of illegal immigration.

DW: Conversely, in what way do you think a southern border wall in the United States is different or perhaps less achievable than the wall in Israel?

RUBIN: Well, it's more of a challenge, and it's much more expensive because it's much longer. In terms of the terrain, the terrain in Israel isn't so simple either. There are quite a few hills and valleys, so I wouldn't say that the terrain in Israel is topographically simple. The main difference and the main challenge in terms of putting up a strong physical barrier at the United States/Mexico border is the expense of the barrier – but the basic principle is what's important here, and as far as I can see, the basic principle is undeniable.

DW: There are those who say, "Build a 30-foot wall, and they'll find a 31-foot ladder." What would you say to that?

RUBIN: In 2016, with the Israeli wall, only 11 illegal immigrants got in. In 2017, zero illegal immigrants got in. What was the difference? The difference was they raised the height of the wall up to 25 feet, and the technology was updated. If you make the wall it a little higher, a little harder to climb, then you are going to accomplish your purpose.

DW: There are many on the Left and the Right who are opposed to a wall. They say it’s too expensive or it’s immoral, or that a high-tech "barrier" is all that’s necessary. Why are these people on both sides of the aisle so adamantly opposed to a physical wall?

RUBIN: It could be that those who oppose it on the Right do so because of the expense. I can't think of any other reason why they would oppose it. I think those on the Left who are opposing the wall – the Schumers and Pelosis – are mainly opposing it because they're opposed to President Trump. I really think that's the main issue. It's all partisan politics because about ten years ago, they were all on board for a fence. Okay, they weren't calling it a wall, they were calling it a fence, but essentially it's the same thing. If you call it a fence, that means you can see through it like the Israeli wall.

The bottom line? I believe it's all politics, and maybe the Democrats believe that because Mexican-Americans have tended to support their party, they'll get some new voters out of the issue.

I haven't heard any really logical, convincing argument from any Democrats as to why the United States shouldn’t build a wall. As far as it being "immoral," I don't see anything immoral about it. I don't think that a free country has an obligation to bring in every single person that wants to come in, especially if by doing so, you may be hurting the country. I don't see what's accomplished by that.

DW: Do you think there's any way other than a wall to secure the border along the southern United States?

RUBIN: I don't think you can stop illegal immigration with just scanners and patrols. I saw the mini press conference in the White House with President Trump and Pelosi and Schumer, and I heard what Senator Schumer said, that you need increased scanners and patrols, but empirically it doesn't work. We've seen that what works is a physical border with high-tech measures. That, along with patrols and enhanced tech, are the elements that you need to have if you truly want to put a stop to illegal immigration. If somebody is opposed to having those three elements, then I don't think they really want to stop it.

DW: What could happen if the United States continues to move forward without really doing anything differently along the border?

RUBIN: I think that would be a very serious mistake. I think that the United States would gradually slide toward being a third-world nation, and when I say third world nation, I'm not talking about the nature of the people who live here. I'm not speaking about any ethnic factors or racial factors or religious factors. I'm talking about the socioeconomic level of the people in the United States because that’s what every country needs if it wants to advance. The way to progress financially, economically, and socially is by bringing in hard-working people with skills, and bringing in families. I think that if the United States loses control of its borders, then it's just going to continue that creep toward third world-ism.

I've heard a couple of Democrats say that the GOP is afraid of the "browning of America," referring to racial issues, accusing them of racism, and in Israel we had a similar issue. We had Eritreans and Sudanese who were mostly African. So there were some accusations of that. Those accusations are ridiculous because they ignore the fact that Israel welcomed in and brought to Israel hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians who became Israelis.

In the United States, it's also a false accusation because there are people from Central America who are mostly unskilled workers who are trying to come into the country, and the United States has a right to say no. I believe if they were skilled workers and they wanted to come in legally or seek asylum, and offer something that the United States needed, I think that's a very positive thing. It's very good for the country.

DW: Is there anything I didn't touch on that you would want to mention?

RUBIN: Well, I think it's important to emphasize that despite all the name calling against President Trump, he's taken some courageous leaps in restoring American security around the world, and I think that border safety is a very essential element of that, and it’s one of the reasons I wrote "Trump and the Jews." I wanted people to understand that when you judge a person, you have to judge him based on what he has accomplished – not on his style, not on his personal life before he became President – but judge a person based on his accomplishments and what he's trying to do.

I think that what Trump is trying to do is restore safety to the United States, to restore America to its rightful place as an innovative, entrepreneurial country. So, I think a lot of what he's doing is accomplishing that or at least trying to accomplish that.

The Daily Wire would like to thank David Rubin for speaking with us. His latest book, "Trump and the Jews," can be found on Amazon.

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