WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama's
long awaited visit
is less than two weeks away and nothing is being left to chance. Experts from the security, policy, army, communications, medicine and technology fields are all engaged in meticulous preparations for the historic trip.
Last month, a special US team visited Israel in preparation for the presidential visit and another team is set to arrive next week to finalize the last details.
The February team included an events planner, the president's military aide, a doctor, an Air Force One operator, a Marine One operator, a communications chief who will be in charge of the visit's media coverage, a Security Service official accompanied by a security team – each member of the team has been assigned a site the president plans to visit such as the President's Residence or Yad Vashem
- and lastly an army officer in charge of communications among members of the president's entourage.
Guard in every corner (Photo: Reuters)
During the first team's first it was already established where Air Force One will land as well as the president's accommodations in Israel (Jerusalem's Kind David Hotel).
Travel and escape routes were also examined in coordination with Israeli security officials.
Along with the president, two giant cargo planes will land in Israel on March 20. They will carry with them two presidential limousines, two Marine One helicopters and other choppers, bullet-proof platforms on which the president will speak and various military, technological and medical equipment.
Two cargo planes to land in Israel in addition to Air Force One (Photo: AP)
President to bring his own stages (Photo: AFP)
The second team will arrive in Israel next week and will include coordinators for every event the president will take part in, two staffers in charge of hotel arrangements, a person who will coordinate arrival and departure from the Ben Gurion Airport and several coordinators for the presidential motorcade. The team will also include a media coordinator and a team of three aides.
The biggest representation will be from the Secret Service which is sending 50 agents to Israel ahead of the president's arrival. They will be joined by several dozen other agents a few days before the visit and will be follow the president wherever he goes.
Obama's visit is set to cause heavy traffic as the presidential motorcade will make its way through Israel from one meeting to another.
Dozens of secret service personnel to accompany Obama (Photo: Reuters)
Bush's motorcade in 2007 (Photo: Reuters)
It will be led by an Israel Police car which will be followed two cars for Secret Service and White House staff, the two limousines, more Secret Service cars, a car carrying armed agents ready for any military conflict, a US intelligence car, a press car and an ambulance. The motorcade might also include a Shin Bet
Apart from the president himself the limousines will likely also carry the White House chief of staff or national security advisor and Obama's military aide who will carry a "football" with launch codes for nuclear weapons.
During his visit, Obama will also use the Marine One helicopter where he will be accompanied by a doctor, the military aide with the launch codes, the White House chief of staff, the national security advisor or his deputy, Secret Service officers and a cameraman. The other security guards and members of the delegation will travel in separate helicopters.
Two Air Force One planes will land in Israel - one carrying the president and an extra one in case of a malfunction.
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