Our office is located in Rehavia, Jerusalem, not far from the residences of the President and the Prime Minister. Like all our neighbours, we are used to living with the wailing sirens of their motorcades going down our streets.
The other day, I was walking in my street, when a huge line of black limousines and jeeps came down the road at great speed, all their engines roaring, wheels screeching, sirens howling and a female voice screaming hysterically through a loudspeaker. The crazy motorcade crossed the junction at full red light, scaring to death both pedestrians and drivers.
For a moment I wanted to wave my hands in protest, but then thought of my dear family and decided this was not a good time to test the hysterical GSS agents' skills.
Then I saw a scene that amazed me. The normally dignified, quiet people of Rehavia, were standing on both pavements, yelling rude protests at the secret service vehicles.
Now, let me give the security people a little piece of advice. If the elderly, civilised Rehavia folks use words like "Stalin" and "Banana Republic", then you must be doing something wrong. Yes, I know that you are still traumatised by your shameful failure to guard the life of the late PM Y. Rabin, but antagonising the public with vulgar, dangerous behaviour can hardly amount to a wise security strategy.
After all, both our civil servants and politicians get paid from our taxes to serve our interests, not to terrorise us with brutal violations of public order.
Ehud Tokatly, 5/August/2004