Could a tragedy similar to Saturday’s plane crash in Russia that claimed the lives of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and many current and former government and military officials happen here?
Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office answered affirmatively on Sunday when they denied reports in the Hebrew press that the prime minister and defense minister are prohibited by longstanding Israeli regulations from flying in the same plane or helicopter.
The officials noted that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak traveled to and from Washington together three weeks ago and Netanyahu and Barak were joined by five other ministers on a January 18 trip to Germany for a joint cabinet session.
“On both occasions, the ministerial security unit [avtachat ishim]
permitted the ministers to fly together,” a source in the Prime
Minister’s Office said.
Yediot Aharonot reported on Sunday that if the prime minister and
defense minister fly to the same destination, they have to take
separate flights. The report said the same was true of the defense
minister and the IDF chief of General Staff but that the prime minister
and chief of staff were permitted to fly together.
The newspaper suggested that such regulations were being ignored to cut
costs, an allegation denied by the Prime Minister’s Office.