Various artists have always loved coming to Israel, both due to the audience's unwavering support, as well as due to their desire to appear in the Holy Land of all three great religions. Nevertheless, not once has this led to them receiving death threats from both extremists and other groups supporting Israeli boycott.
Author: Beni Tal, CEO at Bts-Security
As a veteran security guard, I have had the privilege of securing celebrities visiting the State of Israel, right from the moment they landed in Ben-Gurion airport and up to the second leading to their departure. Recently, when famous singer Madonna returned to Israel, all security related issues have been given significant prominence and I will dedicate the following article to explain the protocols behind such a complex security operation.
The Division of Security Echelons
Securing a massive celebrity like Madonna would obviously require the use of several security echelons.
First, we have the organic security echelons coming directly from the United States, escorting the singer everywhere she goes. This echelon is generally composed of US security and federal forces veterans, who have seen it all done it all, and naturally are familiar with similar security operations. This force isn't allowed to carry weapons and has no formal authority outside the United States.
This security force joins the local security forces with the former commanding the latter. Usually, two months before a star like Madonna lands at a given nation, an advance security team arrives at the scene to take a closer look at the exact route that will be taken: from the moment she gets off the plane, taking a special exit route from the airport to the convoy and up until her arrival at the hosting hotel.
In addition, the security team thoroughly examines the places expecting a visit such as the Kabbalah Center, as well as an early designated beach and several restaurants. Needless to say that the security team is also responsible for the well being of Madonna's entire entourage – staff and family members, personal guests and the production crew.
According to the press, Madonna's security team has also arranged for a double to arrive, in order to mislead potential security threats as well as paparazzi photographers. However, this trick does not prevent the need for the creation of a sterile area around the actual singer (This is obviously hard given the fact that people keep changing the itinerary, making it harder for the advance security team).
Unfortunately, many extremists would like nothing more than to harm artists arriving to Israel, thus creating a deterrent which will lead to other artists cancelling their arrival. It is therefore vital for the Israeli government to address such visits (especially that of Madonna) with proper national salience, considering the massive impact artists like her have on global public opinion.
To conclude, Madonna's arrival to Israel, despite the threats she received is clearly a positive step, signalizing other artists they should not give in to radicals wishing to inflict global and local chaos. I certainly hope that many other artists will keep arriving, with the government being able to truly value their service.