Joe Biden’s convoy is now arriving at Ariel Sharon’s western Negev ranch, some eight kilometers (five miles) from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
The event has meant an unusual level of security precautions, especially against rocket fire from Gaza, including the deployment of at least two Iron Dome batteries devoted to intercepting rocket fire aimed at the event.
Biden is, in effect, being protected by one of the Israeli missile-defense technologies developed in no small part in cooperation with the United States.
The security envelope around the event, where Israel’s top leadership and many senior foreign dignitaries are in attendance, is being managed by the Shin Bet security service, which is on “emergency” footing with its entire manpower deployed to protect the day-long, rolling commemoration event.
“We are preparing for every conceivable scenario,” Israel’s Southern District Police chief Yoram Halevy said yesterday, “from minor provocations” by Israeli extremists “to gunfire from the Gaza Strip.”
Police on horseback, IDF battalions, including reservists, balloon and other surveillance drones, Iron Dome batteries and air force fighter jets on patrol above — these are among the more visible security precautions on the ground.