A Heavy Atmosphere in Israel's New Delhi Embassy

Israeli envoys everywhere received a painful reminder on Monday that terror attacks and assassination attempts are a real threat.

Every Israeli diplomat abroad knows that terrorist attacks and assassination attempts are always a real possibility. When talking about Israeli ambassadors, who are public figures in nearly every country, the danger is even greater.

For the most part Israeli diplomats suppress this reality in order to continue with their day-to-day duties. On Monday, Israeli representatives everywhere received a painful reminder.

New Delhi bomb - AP - February 2012

After the terrorist attack that wounded Tali Yehoshua-Koren, the mood in the Israeli mission to New Delhi was somber. The wounded embassy employee wasn’t just the wife of the Ministry of Defense’s representative in India, but also an embassy employee herself, well known and loved. “She is everyone’s friend,” coworkers described Yehoshua-Koren on Monday.

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The embassy workers tried to concentrate on their work. The foreign ministry was in touch with Indian officials, Israeli security personnel kept in touch with their Indian counterparts and inspected the scene. Other embassy staff members helped the victim’s family.

The embassy spokesperson, David Goldfarb, reported that many messages of support and consolation were received. “We received phone calls from the highest levels of government offering condolences, assistance, and support,” he said.

While tracking the wounded employee’s medical condition, Ambassador Alon Ushpiz held discussions with the Indian authorities and gave interviews to the Indian press. In addition to the main talking point - Iran’s part in the attack - not less prominent was the complete faith Israel has in India’s security services.

“We feel completely safe in India,” Ushpiz told Indian journalists.

The Embassy is expected to open again on Tuesday, but will only provide limited services, in accordance with the instructions of embassy security. In a few days, after the dust settles, life will become more complicated and difficult, Israeli diplomats in New Delhi say.

“Life for Israeli diplomats in India isn’t easy,” one employee said. “You are always surrounded by police officers and security guards. It is difficult but we’ve been maintaining a kind of normal life, but what had been will be no more, especially in relation to the day-to-day life of diplomats’ families.”

Israeli diplomats in India admit the terror attacks’ mild consequences are a very fortunate, and could have ended much worse, especially if Yehoshua-Koren’s children happened to have been in the car at the time of the explosion.

“We were always warned, and even more so recently, that we’re a target,” an Israeli diplomat in the Israeli embassy in India said. “But you don’t really understand it until it happens. We will continue working and doing what needs to be done, but one must admit given that we have families, children - it is scary.”