Security officer quits after locking consul in Israeli embassy in Asia — report

Security officer quits after locking consul in Israeli embassy in Asia — report

Envoy was trapped inside building for over an hour as officials tried to locate guard, who had gone home

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israel's Foreign Ministry building in Jerusalem. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israel's Foreign Ministry building in Jerusalem. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The chief security officer at one of Israel’s embassies in Asia has resigned after locking the consul in the building amid an ongoing feud between the two over when to exit the premises at the end of the workday.

The incident happened a month ago and the officer in question has since requested to be returned to Israel, the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday, without identifying the embassy or the names of the people involved.

A dispute between the officer and consul had been brewing for some time over the daily procedure for winding down operations at the embassy, the report said. Each day, the officer would tour the the offices at 5 p.m., when the staff would leave, and he would then lock up the building.

While all of the other staff followed his instructions, the consul would occasionally stay later.

On the occasion in question, the security guard locked the front door with the consul still inside and left to go home. Although workers could arrange to be locked in the embassy and the officer would come back to get them later on, in this case there was no such arrangement.

Ministry sources told the paper the security guard is considered an exemplary worker who in the past was involved in operations to rescue stranded Israeli hikers.

At 5:12 p.m. local time the consul signed out and tried to leave the building only to discover the heavy security doors were locked and she was trapped inside.

The consul contacted the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem where the news reached the attention of director-general Yuval Rotem. Rotem instructed the security director of the Asian region to become involved and efforts were made to locate the security officer.

Due to communication difficulties, the report said, it took an hour and a half before the guard could be contacted and returned to the embassy to open the doors.

When he arrived, he assured the consul that he had been planning on coming back anyway, the report said.

Although the ministry sources told Yedioth the consul had also behaved inappropriately, the ministry decided that the security guard was at fault. The guard then resigned his position and asked to be returned to Israel.

read more: