Bush. Festive visit
To deliver speech at Knesset
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Americans raid Knesset: About one week before US President George W. Bush's planned visit to Israel, some 30 Secret Service agents arrived in Israel in recent days to tour the Knesset and inspect the Israeli parliament's security arrangements.
Bush is expected to land in Israel on May 15 for a festive visit in celebration of the Jewish state's 60th anniversary. In a meeting held with recently with Avi Balashnikov, the Knesset's director-general, the Americans demanded that a special fence be built around the Knesset in order to prevent eye contact between Bush and external elements.
The American agents "studied" the Knesset perfectly, examined all the building's entrances and exits, and passed through the route which President Bush is expected to take during his visit several times. They even participated in a role-playing session in order to simulate the road the president will take in real time.
One of the issues discussed in the Knesset in recent days was where to store the US president's high-classified material during the visit at the Israeli parliament, where he is expected to arrive immediately after landing at Ben-Gurion Airport. A special room will likely be provided to the Secret Service agents where they will guard the material during the visit.
Bush, who will arrive in Israel with his wife Laura, is expected to be greeted by Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik and a guard of honor in a festive ceremony. The US president will also meet with schoolchildren from Jerusalem and lay a wreath at a monument in memory of IDF soldiers killed in action.
Later Bush is expected to meet with the Knesset speaker, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President Shimon Peres and Opposition Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu. Following the meetings, the Knesset plenum will hold a special session in which Bush will deliver a speech.