Oren Smadja
Photo: Oren Aharoni
Gal Fridman
Security in London
Photo: Reuters
Photo: AP
British soldiers in Olympic Village
Photo: AP

Israeli athletes feel safe in London

Members of Olympic delegation insist there is nothing to worry about as London Police beef up security for fear of terror attacks. '1972 won't repeat itself,' says Oren Smadja

LONDON - "We're in good hands, 1972 will not repeat itself," says Israeli judoka Oren Smadja who is in London training Israel's men's judoka team.


Winner of an Olympic Bronze Medal, Smadja says the Israeli delegation has been briefed ahead of the 2012 London Games but noted that the atmosphere is no more tense than it was in 1992 in Barcelona.


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"I felt very safe in Barcelona and Atlanta and no doubt I will feel the same in London," he said. "The atmosphere is not tense, on the contrary, it's very relaxed."


He added, "There will always be terrorist attacks. It’s not something that preoccupies me, I know we're in good hands. Nothing will happen, especially when it's event of such a global scale, certainly not inside the Olympic Village which is highly secured. 1972 will not repeat itself, " he said.

אולימפיאדת לונדון. מתיחות או נינוחות? (בעדיבות יעל קול)

'Olympic Village safest place to be' (Photo: Courtesy of Yael Kohl-Slechter)


Windsurfer Gal Fridman, the only Israeli to ever win an Olympic Gold Medal, is also unconcerned. "I felt safer during the Olympics than in everyday life thanks to the amazing security guards that followed us everywhere," he said referring to the Israeli security detail.


Friedman stressed that the Olympic Village is highly secured and that the Israeli delegation's quarters are more heavily guarded "with another network of cameras."


Meanwhile, London Police have beefed up security as residents report of missing trash cans, which can be used to conceal explosives, from various public places.


"I actually feel safest at the Olympic Village itself," says Yael Kohl-Slechter, a volunteer accompanying the Israeli delegation. "There are strict security checks by the British military at the entrance to the Olympic Village," she says. "Car drivers entering the village can expect 30-minute security checks."

יעל קול-סלחטר בכפר האולימפי (בעדיבות יעל קול)

Yael Kohl-Slechter in London


Anne Yarchi, another Israeli volunteer residing in London, is not aware of any special alerts or guidelines. "We were told to be highly vigilant and pay attention to suspicious people, however we were ordered not to approach them ourselves but report it to the security guards.


"This also applies to suspicious objects. We are meant to ask if they belong to anyone but we mustn't touch the bag or open it, but report it to the security people."


Meanwhile, the Olympic torch continues to make its way around Britain and on Wednesday will arrive at London's Borough of Barnett, where many Jews reside.


The Jewish community's neighborhood watch, the CST, recently issued special guidelines ahead of the Games. It was stated that there were no concrete reports of plans for terrorist attacks but that the large number of tourists warrants special attention.


Shiri Hadar contributed to this report




פרסום ראשון: 07.23.12, 11:04
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