The decision was made alongside a severe travel advisory issued by the Counter-Terrorism Bureau in regards to possible attacks on Israelis ahead of the anniversary of the assassination of two Hizbullah leaders: Imad Mugniyah and Abbas Musawi.
The security of these officials is another step in a series of measures taken by the Israeli defense establishment in a bid to deal with threats to kidnap and harm high-ranking officials.
MK Peretz served as defense minister during the Second Lebanon War. He is considered a possible Hizbullah target in light of the damage caused to the Lebanese organization, particularly in the Air Force strikes on Beirut's Dahiya quarter.
MK Lieberman, one of the leaders of Israel's right-wing camp, who was responsible as minister for handling strategic threats – including Iran, travels abroad often. Hurting or kidnapping him would be considered a great success for Hizbullah.
Hanegbi has served as chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for the past three years. Targeting him would also be considered a successful Hizbullah operation.
The fourth possible target is Major-General (Res.) Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel, who served in the Israel Defense Forces until 2002 in a series of roles in the Israel Air Force's operations, intelligence and weapon development units.
Ben-Israel headed the Operations Research Branch, Analysis and Assessment Division of IAF Intelligence, and was the head of Military R&D in the IDF and Ministry of Defense. In 1998 he was appointed director of the Defense R&D Directorate in the Ministry of Defense. He received the Israel Defense Award twice – in 1972 and 2001.
After the Ministerial Committee on Shin Bet Affairs – which includes the prime minister, ministers, the attorney general and the heads of the Shin Bet general security service and National Security Council – approve the increased security on the four MKs, the decision will be handed over to a committee headed by Major-General (Res.) Amos Yaron, which approves unusual personal security according to recommendations of the defense establishment.
In any event, when one of these four officials travels abroad he will likely be accompanied by security guards in order to prevent Hizbullah men from targeting them.
Heightened alert level worldwide
The Israeli security establishment is also preparing to protect institutions abroad – including embassies and delegations worldwide. Simultaneously, the intelligence establishment led by the Mossad is attempting to locate organizations aimed at targeting Jewish officials and institutions across the world.
Security officials believe that Hassan Nasrallah's speech last week, in which the Hizbullah secretary-general claimed that Israel was still holding 350 bodies of Hizbullah men, was aimed at preparing for abductions of Israelis in a bid to allegedly regain these bodies.
According to estimates, Hizbullah will attempt to carry out a major terror attack for the purpose of intimidation, during which it will try and kidnap or hurt Israeli officials abroad.
Another possibility which has not been ruled out is that Hizbullah emissaries would try and carry out attacks within Israel. The IDF is also preparing for a possible firing of rockets from Lebanon. All the security forces have been instructed to take a series of measures in order to prevent such actions.
Meanwhile, the London-based Times newspaper reported that Hizbullah has already attempted to strike an Israeli target more than half a year ago. According to the report, A terror attack, which was to include the abduction of Israelis, had been thwarted at the Israeli Embassy in Azerbaijan.