Security is exceptionally tight for Minister Avi Dichter as he visits the UK, due to concerns over a possible arrest attempt.
The former chief of the Israel Security Agency (Shabak/Shin Bet) is visiting London after nearly a decade in which he has avoided stepping upon British soil so as not to provide an opportunity to those who have long hoped to ensnare him.
Dichter finally landed in the British capital following a change in the law that until recently had been used by pro-Palestinian Authority activists in attempts to harass and otherwise operate against Israeli officials.
According to a report broadcast on Israel's Channel 2 television news, Dichter is following extremely tight security protocols during his visit, and is accompanied by numerous personnel. He was asked to stay in a hotel very close to the Israel Embassy in London, to ensure that should a sudden decision be made to arrest him, he could reach the building – and the safety of legal Israeli territory – within the quickest possible time.
Before traveling to the UK, Israeli and British lawyers reportedly verified that no legal loopholes exist that could open the door to issuance of a warrant for the arrest of the former intelligence chief.
"We demanded iron-clad assurances in order to avoid any unpleasant situations,” he said. “We came for serious meetings, to one end only: we came to talk, not to be tested. Not by ourselves, and not by the local authorities either.”