In The Background
Israel to take leading role in securing Athens Olympic Games.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
srael will play a key role in security
preparations for the Olympic
Games, training Greek police in
crowd-safety and the protection of VIPs
in case of a terror attack.
As part of a seven-nation security task
force, Israel — along with the United
States, Australia, Britain, France,
Germany and Spain — is leading the
mammoth effort to secure the first
Olympics since the Sept. 11, 2001
attacks in the U.S.
Although Israeli officials are tight-
lipped about exactly how the Jewish
state will be helping out behind the
scenes, reports have indicated that Israel
will dispatch naval vessels to patrol the
Greek coastline while Israeli military and
intelligence officials will be coordinating
with their Greek counterparts, the U.S.
Army and NATO throughout the 16-
day event, which begins Aug. 13.
Security operations are expected to
cost an estimated $1.2 billion, nearly
four times what Australia spent on the
2000 Summer Games in Sydney.
Despite assurances from Greece that
the security situation is under control,
questions loom as to whether or not
Greek security services will be able to
keep 10,500 athletes, along with 2 mil-
lion spectators, safe should a terror net-
work such as AI Qaida try to attack the
world's largest sporting event.
Members of a Greek police anti-terrorism _team detain a "criminal" as part of an
Olympic readiness exercise near Athens.
Construction for the event has been
sluggish, and some security experts have
expressed concern that there will be
insufficient time to thoroughly test secu-
rity systems. But Israeli police officials
who have been helping train their coun-
terparts say the Greeks are ready.
"I think they are very prepared and will
be able to handle the Olympics," said
Izhak Tzur, the head of the Israeli
police's training division. He and the
head of Israel's border police will be in
Athens during the Olympics in an advi-
sory capacity. Cooperation between
Israeli and Greek police has been inten-
sive, Tzur said.
Israeli Police chief Shlomo
Aharonishky went to Greece in
November to meet with top Greek secu-
rity officials, and Greek police officers
have traveled to Israel for training. "We
trained them how to assess a situation,
on everything connected to a major ter-
ror attack," he said. "We have shared our
More than 70,000 police officers and
soldiers will provide security for the
Games. NATO is lending a hand in the
security push, with plans to dispatch air
and sea patrols, a stand-by special-forces
unit and a unit that deals with nuclear,
biological or chemical threats.
Greece's public order minister,
Giorgos Floridis, said Israel had helped
his government develop feasibility stud-
ies on security and plans for handling
suicide bombers as well as providing
assistance on how to gather intelligence
on potential threats and terror organiza-
Israeli security companies like the
Haifa-based Elbit, which specializes in
defense electronics, are reportedly
among the private firms working on
the Games. Elbit officials, however,
declined to comment.
The Israeli Olympic Committee
would not give details on security
arrangements for the Israeli athletes,
but said they would be cooperating
fully with the local authorities. Israel's
Shin Bet domestic security service will
maintain a presence in Athens, pro-
tecting the Israeli delegation as it has -
at every Olympics since the 1972
Summer Games in Munich when 11
Israeli athletes were killed by
Palestinian terrorists. ❑
Israel goes on the offensive against Iranian nukes.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
fter months of keeping a low
profile on Iran's nuclear pro-
gram, Israel has launched an
intensive diplomatic campaign to con-
vince the international community to
pressure Teheran to drop its efforts to
produce a nuclear bomb.
Israeli officials say the campaign,
involving the United States, the
European Union and the International
Atomic Energy Agency, is focusing on
a September meeting of the IAEA
board of governors in Vienna. That
body has the power to refer the
"Iranian nuclear dossier" to the U.N.
Security Council, where international
sanctions could be imposed.
The Israeli diplomatic
move has been accompanied
by a veiled threat of attack
on Iranian nuclear facilities if the
international community fails to stop
Teheran's nuclear weapons drive. But
the Iranians, undeterred, are continu-
ing to pursue an a potentially military
Like Israel, the United States is
seeking stiffer international action.
The E.U. position has been less deci-
sive, however, and it is not clear
whether the union will back a U.S.
demand for sanctions. Europe's posi-
tion could be crucial.
Israel stopped its public criticism of
Teheran after Iran and Libya intimat-
ed a readiness late last year to cooper-
ate with the international community
in dismantling their nuclear
weapons programs. At the
time, Israeli experts said
Libya was serious, but they
didn't trust Iran.
Still, given the new situation and
not wanting to draw attention to its
own nuclear capabilities, Israel decid-
ed to adopt a low profile on Iran, and
let the United States and Europe take
the lead in pressuring Teheran to drop
its nuclear weapons drive.
Now, Israel feels the international
community has not been firm
enough, and has allowed Iran to get
away with a pretense of cooperation
while clandestinely furthering its
In late June, Israeli leaders decided
to change tack. As a first step, Foreign
Minister Silvan Shalom initiated a
July 2 meeting in Washington on the
Iranian issue with the U.S. national
security adviser, Condoleezia Rice.
Afterward, Shalom declared that the
international community "cannot
allow the Iranians to move forward in
their efforts to develop nuclear
Less than a week later, the IAEA?s
IRAN on page 26