Israeli authorities are concerned that because dozens of world leaders are expected to attend, the funeral may be a tempting terror target and will require an unprecedented deployment of Israeli security forces in addition to the protective details of the many foreign dignitaries.
“There will be 7,000 police officers, Israel Border Police, and other volunteers who will be deployed to the field to protect and keep public order,” Alsheikh said.
“Whoever wants to plan an attack has two full days to prepare and they know exactly when and where people will be arriving. It is a security nightmare,” admits Lior Akerman, former deputy head of the Shin Bet and intelligence and terrorism expert. “The challenge is to hermetically seal travel routes, the entrances and exits (to the events), and to establish a secure perimeter so that no one can get close. The Shin Bet knows how to do it.”
The main roadways leading to the Knesset were closed beginning at 8:00am on Thursday and will remain closed until Friday morning when the funeral procession begins on its way to Mt. Herzl.
Ben Gurion authorities have been working feverishly to handle the more than 95,000 persons in 30 commercial flights and 60 private planes who are expected to arrive at Ben Gurion airport to attend and report on Peres’s funeral.
The Israel Police are preparing to close off Highway 1 that connects Tel Aviv and Jerusalem periodically once dignitaries begin to arrive. Arriving foreign leaders will deplane in sterile areas, be transferred to armored vehicles, and travel in convoys while police close a wide perimeter of security and employ various technological tactics to identify threats.
From 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. Friday, a formal service with eulogies will be performed at Har Herzl, after which the burial ceremony will commence at noon. Foreign celebrities will head back to the airport shortly after.