Thieves broke into the car of former prime minister and candidate for the Likud
leadership Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday after it was left unguarded on Rehov Hashmonaim
in Tel Aviv
Two mobile phones were stolen from the car in a theft police said raised serious concerns regarding the security and protection of Knesset members and senior government officials.
Netanyahu was in Tel Aviv for a meeting with one of his advisers. His security detail, provided by the Knesset and not the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), accompanied him to his meeting but left the armored car unprotected downstairs. The guards, police said, were shocked when they returned to the car and discovered that one of the windows had been smashed and two of the phones had been stolen. Police sappers were also alerted to the scene to ensure explosives had not been planted inside or underneath the car.
Police said it did not appear as if the thief knew he was breaking into Netanyahu's car since several other cars had also been broken into in the same area on Saturday.
"This is a security flaw that needs to be dealt with by the Knesset which is responsible for Netanyahu's security," one Tel Aviv police officer said.
Meanwhile Sunday the cabinet approved the establishment of an anti-car theft police unit. Called Etgar (Challenge), the unit was initially established in 1998 but was dismantled at the beginning of 2004 due to cuts in the police's operational budget. Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra
decided to reestablish the unit after police noted a sharp increase in the number of car thefts over the past two years.