Netanyahu Thanks Yonatan, Embassy Guard Who Prevented Tragedy
Prime Minister meets head of Cairo embassy security detail "whose coolness and calm averted disaster."
Gil Ronen, 11/09/11 21:17
Netanyahu with Yehonatan
Government Press Office
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met in his bureau Saturday night with Yonatan, the chief of the Israeli Embassy Security detail, who was extricated from the embassy after an Egyptian mob nearly broke in to the room where he and five other security men were holed up.
The security men reportedly considered escaping toward the roof but scrapped the plan when they ascertained there was a large group of Egyptians waiting for them there. They fired in the air several times, and for a while, only one door separated the mob from them. They were eventually extricated by Egyptian commandos.
The Prime Minister, as well as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, spoke with Yonatan on the phone during the crisis and followed the events as they unfolded.
Lieberman reportedly instructed the security detail to shoot to kill if the mob managed to break into the room.
"You exhibited coolness and calm that prevented a major disaster," Netanyahu told Yonatan, who in turn thanked the Prime Minister and said "If it were not for you, we would not be here."
Netanyahu stated: "During this long night, we were required to make many difficult decisions. I would like to share with you one conversation from this night. On the line was Yonatan, the security officer of the Embassy."
"He and his men, six in number, were trapped in the Embassy building. The mob entered the building and entered the office. Only one door separated between the mob and Yonatan and his friends. He sounded perfectly calm to me, and on the other hand understood the situation in which he and his colleagues found themselves."
During the ongoing event, he requested from the security officer in the Foreign Ministry one thing: If something happens to me, he said, my parents should be notified face to face, and not by telephone. I got on the phone line and I said to him, “Yonatan, be strong. I promise you that the State of Israel will do everything in its power and will use all possible resources in the world in order to rescue you and your friends unharmed and whole from this situation.”
"And thank God this morning they all landed in Israel. A short while ago I spoke with Yonatan and his mother. They sounded wonderful."