Binyamin Netanyahu in Paris with world leaders
Binyamin Netanyahu in Paris with world leadersHaim Zach/GPO/Flash 90

Col. (res.) Benny Tal, a security expert, told Army Radio Monday that security arrangements for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during the memorial march in Paris were abysmally inadequate, and that the prime minister could easily have been assassinated in the event.

Tal told the station that anyone with a gun could have fired at Netanyahu from one of apartments in the buildings that lined the street in which the march passed. He said that Netanyahu was the prime terror target in the march – more so than the leaders of France, Britain or Germany – and should have been accompanied by at least ten guards who are taller than he is, scanning the possible lines of fire.

By "pushing" his way into the front row, said Tal, Netanyahu placed himself in greater danger, because he was completely exposed from the front. The security men who held his arm and shoulder would have been useless if Netanyahu had been hit by gunfire. “This is worse than gross negligence,” he said. “We already had a prime minister taken down in Tel Aviv – do we need this to happen in France, too? What would that do to our deterrence?”

Tal noted that Netanyahu was highly at risk as he waited for a bus to take him to the march from the Elysee Palace, as well. Netanyahu kept a stiff upper lip during the wait, but was visibly concerned, as video from the event shows (below). Tal noted that security teams often use deception in situations like these, sending a "dummy motorcade" in one direction and bringing the person they are protecting to the location from another direction, sometimes in disguise. In this case, Netanyahu was completely visible throughout the event.

The security detail is probably not to blame, said Tal, who faulted Netanyahu for deciding just hours before the event that he would attend it. In an event of this magnitude, he added, security men should have been on location a week ahead of time, he explained, making sure that all the arrangements were properly planned. 

Tal claimed that he would have resigned as security advisor rather than agree to take responsibility for protecting the life of a prime minister under such conditions, at such short notice.