American police officers are in Israel to learn the latest on counter-terrorism, another expression of the close ties between Israel and the US.

A delegation of 52 police officers from American law enforcement arrived in Israel on Sunday, part of a joint Israel-US “Unity Tour” to share and learn from each other’s experience and knowledge.

“We have the utmost respect for you, and we will do everything to make you feel at home,” an Israeli police officer stated during an official reception while addressing his American counterparts who came from 12 US states.

While in Israel, the American officers are learning counter-terrorism techniques from the Israelis, touring the country and participating in a ceremony to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

US law enforcement and security delegations frequently visit Israel to learn cutting-edge security and counter-terrorism techniques.

Michael Safris, chief of the Essex County’s Sheriff’s Office Deputy Division, who is Jewish, said he has visited Israel 40 times and, in return, hosted numerous Israeli police delegations in the US over the past 10 years.

“From all my trips, I know the delegation forms an important relationship, and if something happens in the US or something happens here, we stay in touch and honor each country’s fallen officers,” Safris told the Jerusalem Post. “The relationship and camaraderie developed over the last two years and is one of the reasons we keep coming,” he added.

Safris also explained how the struggle for survival sets Israeli police apart from other forces in the world. “In our communities, for a lot of police officers, it’s a job,” he said, adding, “I think that it’s more than a job for a lot of the officers in Israel because they are protecting their homeland.”

Anti-Israel organizations have criticized the collaboration, but have failed to hinder the close ties.

“There was a demand that I stop allowing the Atlanta Police Department to train with the Israeli police department,” Mayor Kasim Reed said in July 2016.

I’m not going to do that. I happen to believe that the Israeli police department has some of the best counter-terrorism techniques in the world and it benefits our police department from that long-standing relationship,” he said.

By: United with Israel Staff contributed to this report.

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