Jun 24 2008
Is it just me, or do others notice that the Israelis lately seem to be losing a little bit of that finely-honed combat instinct they’re famous for?
Today, for example, an Israeli policeman apparently committed suicide while on detail at Ben Gurion Airport, guarding the departure ceremony for French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Now, a guy putting a bullet in his own head and plummeting off of a roof would tend to put a damper on any party, not to mention calling into question the whole psychological-stability vetting process one always hopes governments engage in when they give people guns and put them near high-value targets.
But two other things struck me about this incident. First, as is apparent from this video, the security details never really got out of first gear when responding to the incident. None of the yelling, grabbing their principals and hustling them out of harm’s way; no, more like a molasses-slow, “hey, what the heck was that? gee, why don’t we wander over to the car, sir…” as Sarkozy and his wife slowly walk up the airplane staircase (incidentally enhancing their exposure to potential snipers) and Olmert meanders over to his car.
I swear, Olmert pauses before he gets in his car and waves and yells to Sarkozy, probably saying something like “Hey Nic, once this attack is over we’ll finish up our goodbyes, okay?”
I’d like to attribute this to Israeli nonchalance in the face of mortal danger, but then this little item from the Times Online article kind of leapt out at me:
Israel Radio said that the officer who died was about 100m away from the Sarkozy plane as it waited on the runway at Ben Gurion, Israel’s largest international airport. Two women soldiers who witnessed the incident fainted and were treated by medics.
Um, okay. There’s a confidence booster!