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IMG_0254VIP Escort Procedures in Israel have caused a major uproar threatening both pedestrians and drivers.

Pedestrians who innocently stand at intersections may be risking their lives in the name of smooth VIP transitions. are not counted.

The routine has almost become a daily spectacle on the streets of major cities in Israel but it still continues to create an annoyance while simultaneously raising questions.  Picture a main street in Tel Aviv at Noon. Three black limousines with tinted windows come into view accompanied by the loud noise of police sirens. Blue lights mounted on the roofs of the vehicle attract attention while an additional three escort vehicles add to the chaos.

The occupants of a police car, travelling at the head of this noisy convoy, added to the pathetic scene by operating their PA system.  One of the two policemen in the car shouts out a blaring warning for motorists to “move to the left and don’t stop.” Frightened drivers react badly and don’t know what to do, as intersections become jammed. A female driver almost enters an intersection against the light while traffic flows from the other direction. The Police Officer continues to shout out his instructions while sirens wail in the background.  It is a scene portraying havoc and confusion.

This is the way security authorities handle appearances of Israel’s prime minister, ministers or visiting foreign governmental guests and officials.  From behind the darkened windows of black SUVs and limousines, Israel’s finest young men are blamed for creating uproar and fuss.

What is important to these men is to ensure that their VIP passengers arrive at their destination safely. Citizens really do not count in this process. Where exactly should a driver stand in the center of jammed Tel Aviv and where should he move to at the orders of a policeman? Exactly what is that citizen supposed to do in order to follow orders and avoid disaster?  The national VIP security system has initiated some strange activity patterns something resembling scenarios of activities in crime infested countries.  All of this occurs as the result of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Calling attention to those responsible, perhaps you should consider that if you want to transport someone while the town is jammed, you can use a helicopter. This is how it is done in most advanced countries in the world. If you want to protect the prime minister, minister, or visiting VIP– might it not be better to drive him quietly and safely by car without drawing anybody’s attention to it. Streets could be guarded without anyone knowing who was in the car.

My guess is that those in control prefer hysteria and the confusion resulting from the creation of impossible situations.  Will the innocent driver of a car who was forced into an intersection on a red light and photographed by traffic cameras have someone one to talk to?  Will that someone listen or believe his explanation?

Is there any possibility to do away with the situations involving confusion and “screaming police personnel” that spreads panic whenever a protected VIP visits the city? Nothing seems to change. Israeli security personnel will continue to have priority over all other considerations, even concerning the safety of civilians.

It happened again in Tel Aviv this week.  People stood by on the street covering their ears while looking at a protected convoy, its sirens screeching while trying to move through a blocked intersection.   The people in the dark windowed SUV probably didn’t hear a thing or witness the   reactions of pedestrians and frustrated drivers.  The meeting of the Israeli VIP with a foreign colleague or the reverse took precedence over all concerns for anything or anybody.

egozi2By Arie Egozi

i-HLS Editor-in-chief