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The visit of the President of the U.S. to Israel beginning this Wednesday will paralyze movement in large areas of Israel and will employ half of Israel’s police force as well as a large number of soldiers.
This will be without any doubt the largest scale security operation ever performed in Israel. About 15,000 policemen comprising over half of Israel’s total police force, will work 12-hour shifts starting Wednesday, when President Obama lands at Ben Gurion Airport. The Presidents entourage will amount to about 600 people.
Obama is scheduled to land at Ben Gurion Airport at 12:25 p.m. Wednesday and will be received in an official Government ceremony. He will then be shown an Iron Dome battery at the airport followed by a meeting with President Peres in Jerusalem. He will then proceed to a meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the two will hold a joint press conference.
The Presidential motorcade will consist of 60 vehicles, including those of Secret Service agents, security personnel, and American officials. Included in the official motorcade will be support vehicles consisting of fire-fighting trucks, Magen David Adom ambulances, as well as vehicles carrying members of the Yamam counter-terrorist unit of the Israeli Police Department.
Whenever President 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 movement in Jerusalem. The Israel Police Department will notify the public which streets and roads will be closed on their website and through the media.
At this time, it’s unclear whether President Obama will travel to Jerusalem from Ben Gurion International Airport by helicopter or motorcade so 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 the police department beforehand and are conducted in an orderly manner.
President Obama’s scheduled speech at the Binyanei Hauma convention center in Jerusalem will require special and stringent security measures. The police and the Israel General Security Service will review the list of invitees and any persons whose presence has not been authorized will not be permitted to enter or even approach the premises.
U.S Air Force transport aircraft have already offloaded the Presidential limousine which is being guarded by a special secret service detail. This limousine is actually a tank disguised as a car. It is protected against bullets and also against some types of rockets and missiles.
During the Presidential visit all travel arrangements on the ground or by air in a helicopter will be determined by the secret service in coordination with Israel’s General Security Service.
The Israeli Police air unit will also participate with its helicopters flying missions over ‘sensitive’ areas.
An emergency evacuation drill was performed in the King David hotel in Jerusalem a few days ago, the hotel where the President of the United States will be staying during his official visit.