15,000 Police Officers to Protect Obama During Visit to Israel

Israel police, in collaboration with Israel's secret service agency, are busy reviewing plans and contingencies; road closures are expected, particularly in Jerusalem.

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Preparations in Israel are moving briskly ahead for the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama, for which the Israel Police has assigned 15,000 officers to protect the president and his entourage.

Last week, U.S. Secret Service agents arrived in Israel to conduct simulations of possible scenarios with senior Israeli police officers.

At each place on the president's itinerary, a high-ranking officer has been assigned to oversee security. The various security plans have already been submitted to Major General Nissim Mor, head of the Israel Police’s Operations Division.

The presidential motorcade will consist of 60 vehicles, including those of Secret Service agents, security personnel and American officials, as well as fire-fighting trucks, Magen David Adom ambulances and vehicles of the Israel Police’s Yamam counter-terrorist unit.

When Obama travels to a stop on his itinerary by car rather than helicopter, all streets along the route will be closed and sealed, which will particularly affect Jerusalem. The Israel Police will notify the public which streets and roads will be closed on their website and through the media.

At this time, it remains unclear whether Obama will travel to Jerusalem from Ben Gurion International Airport by helicopter or motorcade. Contingency plans have been drawn up in case Route 1, the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, has to be closed.

The police will authorize protest demonstrations in places Obama will visit, provided they have been coordinated with police beforehand and are conducted in an orderly manner.

Obama’s speech at the International Convention Center (Binyanei Hauma) in Jerusalem will require particularly stringent security measures. The police and the Shin Bet security agency, Israel's secret service, will review the list of invitees. People whose presence has not been authorized will not be permitted to enter the premises.

During Obama's visit to the Palestinian Authority, the PA will bear responsibility for his security and for the security of the presidential entourage.

Meanwhile, on the ground, grass root preparations for Obama's visit are underway throughout Israel and the West Bank.

Posters advocating the release of jailed American-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, captioned "Yes you can," have sprung up in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and other locations.

In Bethlehem, a billboard with the message, "We have no 3G in Palestine!" were erected.

Poster advocating the release of Jonathan Pollard, ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Israel, March 13, 2013.Credit: Daniel Bar-On
A poster depicting U.S. President Barack Obama in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, March 16, 2013. Text reads: 'We have no 3G in Palestine'.Credit: AFP
Israel Police and fire services perform drill for emergency evacuation of U.S. President Barack Obama at King David hotel, Jerusalem, March 15, 2013.
Israel Police and fire services perform drill for emergency evacuation of U.S. President Barack Obama at King David hotel, Jerusalem, March 15, 2013.
Israel Police and fire services perform drill for emergency evacuation of U.S. President Barack Obama at King David hotel, Jerusalem, March 15, 2013.
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Israel Police and fire services perform drill for emergency evacuation of U.S. President Barack Obama at King David hotel, Jerusalem, March 15, 2013.Credit: Harel Sagi
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Israel Police and fire services perform drill for emergency evacuation of U.S. President Barack Obama at King David hotel, Jerusalem, March 15, 2013.Credit: Harel Sagi
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Israel Police and fire services perform drill for emergency evacuation of U.S. President Barack Obama at King David hotel, Jerusalem, March 15, 2013.Credit: Harel Sagi
Drill for emergency evacuation of U.S. President Barack Obama.

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