Israeli air space to be closed at start of pope's visit

Police helicopters to shadow pontiff while also securing Meron Lag Ba'omer festivities.

May 10, 2009 23:38
1 minute read.
Israeli air space to be closed at start of pope's visit

pope 298.88. (photo credit: )


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The air space in central Israel will be sealed off for 30 minutes on Monday to allow a helicopter convoy to transport Pope Benedict XVI to Jerusalem. After landing at Ben-Gurion Airport, the pope once again will be airborne, as he is flown by an Air Force helicopter to the capital. Police helicopters will accompany him, marking the start of an intensive aerial security operation that will see police pilots closely shadow the pontiff. On the ground, anti-terror police unit members and Special Patrol Officers will create rings of security around the airport during Benedict's arrival. Five to six thousand police officers will be involved with securing the pope every day during the five-day visit. In Jerusalem, the pope is expected to hold a mass prayer session with around 6,000 Christians, while police helicopters hover above, sending live images of the event to the police's central headquarters for analysis. A new command center at the police headquarters in Jerusalem has been launched to coordinate security for the visit, police announced last week. Senior police brass will be using the command post in future major events as well, police added. "This [the papal visit] is a historic event," Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. David Cohen said last week. "This visit has national and international implications from our perspective. We are committed to 110 percent success and zero errors during the visit." The pope is expected to visit 22 sites around Israel during his stay. On Wednesday, police helicopters will accompany the helicopter that will ferry the pope to Nazareth, where thousands of worshipers are expected to join him in a mass prayer. On Tuesday, some tens of thousands of Jewish worshipers are expected to center on Meron in northern Israel, where they will participate in the annual Lag Ba'omer celebrations near the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yohai. The police's helicopter unit will be involved in securing that event, too. Police helicopters also helped secure the long-awaited Depeche Mode concern in Ramat Gan on Sunday evening, expected to attract tens of thousands of fans. "I don't want to say that ground police can't work without us. But I can say the efficiency of police work is greatly harmed without our assistance," Cmdr. Oded Shemla, head of the helicopter unit, told The Jerusalem Post.

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town