In recent years, after several assassination attempts against political figures (the two we recall are late Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and late Knesset member Rechav’am Ze’evi), political figures’ security becomes a discussion. In this interview, colonel Beni Tal, BTS Security CEO, and Knesset member Ilan Gil’on (Meretz party) discuss VIP security.
Some in the industry say that Knesset members should be guarded by private companies and not by the VIP security unit in the Shabac (General Security Service ofIsrael), since it lacks sufficient personnel to support these needs.
Only the Shabac is Qualified
Beni Tal claims the VIP Security Unit of the Shabac are the most proficient and should be responsible for the security of public figures. Tal claims there is room for tighter security around public figures, an effort the Shabac should and can lead. Tal uses the 1968 failed kidnapping attempts, when the Shabac succeeded in securing public figures worldwide.
Tal uses the Yamam (Israeli Police Special Central Unit), specifically trained in fighting crime and special operations, as an example to an elite unit which isn’t qualified for VIP security. “Everything must be according to training and procedures, based on the service intent; I have no doubt targeted recruitment for this precise mission is possible”.
Being a Congressman Is a Professional Risk
Knesset member Ilan Gi’lon thinks that the call for tightening the security level results in classifying Knesset members as more and less important, security wise. Gil’on sees a paradox in this division as “important” Knesset members don’t spend most of their time in public places, facing fewer threats but receiving tighter security. Gil’on claims the “less important” Knesset members are the ones “closer to the people” and face greater security risks, with less security.
“Knesset members should know their role embeds a professional risk, which I think we should minimize. The security level should be based on the person’s conduct and topography and not based on his position. We may regret in the future focusing on one person vs. another, this should be part of the general security of all Israeli citizens.”