Army of 10,000 police prepare for Obama visit

Police Spokesman says thousands of police will take part in securing the three-day visit by US president.

March 11, 2013 17:05
1 minute read.
Senator Barack Obama is escorted by an Israeli police officer in Sderot July 23, 2008

Obama in Israel 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Well over 10,000 police will take part in securing the three-day visit March 20-22 by US President Barack Obama, National Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Monday.

Rosenfeld said the security preparations are the biggest of their kind since then-US president George W. Bush visited in 2008.

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Obama will be joined by an entourage of 500 people, including staff, security and traveling press. His Secret Service security detail will work in cooperation with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) General Security Services, in preparing for the visit, Rosenfeld said, adding that the police deployment will include officers from the full range of the police special and regular patrol units, including the anti-terror and direct action units.

Rosenfeld called the event “tremendously significant and important in terms of security measures that will be implemented,” adding that police from the Jerusalem, Central and Judea and Samaria Districts will coordinate the security by way of a central command center that National Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino will oversee at national police headquarters in Jerusalem.

Commuters can expect massive delays and road closures during the visit, but Rosenfeld said national transportation police will post traffic updates on the police Facebook page and police website aroundthe- clock during the president’s stay here.

On March 20 police and the Shin Bet will secure the event welcoming Obama at Ben-Gurion International Airport, after which his convoy will make its way to Jerusalem. On the second day he will visit Ramallah and the Palestinian territories, at which point Obama’s security detail, the IDF and the PA will assume responsibility.

On the final day, Obama will make his way back from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, and anyone on the roads in central Israel on the 22nd should expect serious gridlock.

During a meeting held Sunday night to discuss the preparations for Obama’s visit, Danino called Obama’s visit “a national mission that will be led by the Israel Police.

“The level of coordination between the different bodies – police, Shin Bet, IDF, rescue services, government offices and others – must be carried out flawlessly.”

Danino added that the lion’s share of the mission will involve securing Jerusalem, saying “daily life in Jerusalem will be disrupted and it is up to us to do all that we can in order to reduce this disruption as much as possible.”

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