The Israeli Embassy in Ottawa considers its security insufficient due to threats

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The Embassy of Israel in Ottawa considers its security insufficient due to threats

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 knjbxw">The Israeli Embassy in Ottawa wants its security enhanced. In the photo, an RCMP officer in front of the Parliament of Canada, in Ottawa (archives).

The Israeli Embassy in Ottawa feels threatened after nearly three years of lobbying Global Affairs Canada to increase its security.

It is exceptionally rare that embassies and consulates publicly express concerns about their security, but the Israeli Embassy has made two senior officials available to raise this issue with The Canadian Press.

The interviews were granted on the condition that the two officials not be named, as staff fear hostility directed at the diplomatic mission could target individual employees.

The officials said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) downgraded the security of the Israeli mission chief shortly after Nimrod Barkan, Israel's former ambassador to Canada, retired in November 2019 .

The RCMP did not confirm any details, but the embassy said the police force had stopped providing VIP protection, which entails around-the-clock protection of an ambassador when they are on duty. #x27;it moves between the embassy and the official residence.

Israel had not appointed an ambassador as COVID-19 spread, leaving a charge d'affaires to head the embassy when Ottawa was the ;one of the most confined capitals on the planet.

When the current Israeli Ambassador to Canada, Ronen Hoffman, began his term in December 2021, the Israeli embassy officials have demanded that he be given the same protection as his predecessor.

The embassy says the office of the Global Affairs Canada protocol denied this request in official diplomatic notes, as did the RCMP in a meeting.

Officials said they unsuccessfully attempted to request a meeting to resolve the issue with the protocol office and the RCMP.

In a statement, the RCMP wrote that it would not be appropriate to release specific details of discussions with an Embassy.

RCMP protective operations are constantly evaluating and adapting their security and protection posture. This is done in a manner that is based on current and evolving threat and risk environments, the statement read, which has not been attributed to a spokesperson.


Global Affairs Canada has referred to this RCMP statement.

The Embassy of Israel is located in an office tower three blocks south of Parliament Hill. Its suite number only appears on certain pages of its website and the floor is not listed on the building's directory screen.

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The Embassy has shared social media posts from activists who oppose Israel's policy towards the Palestinians, in which they show maps of the embassy location and photos of its hallway.

Staff also shared what they said was a recent voicemail, in which an unidentified voice said: We will kill you wherever you are; we'll get you.

Anonymous officials have noted an increase in anti-Semitic events, which has been documented by the Jewish advocacy group B'nai Brith Canada.

< p class="e-p">In April, this group reported a striking rise in the number of violent anti-Jewish incidents, from nine in 2020 to 75 in 2021, including beatings, vandalism of synagogues and swastikas in schools. /p>

The Israeli Embassy said it now enjoys the same level of protection as most diplomatic missions in the National Capital Region.< /p>

This is equivalent to police officers walking past the building housing the embassy at random intervals, according to recent chiefs of protocol who have overseen the security of embassies in Canada.

Global Affairs Canada officials also hold regular calls with all embassies in Ottawa and Gatineau, including to report any security concerns or upcoming events that may lead to large protests.


The ministry also gathers intelligence and receives updates from both cities on permissions for demonstrations in front of embassies.

Global Affairs Canada sends this information along with suggestions when the department feels that a diplomatic mission might merit more security, for specific days or even for permanent 24-hour surveillance.

The RCMP liaises with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and makes the final decision on the level of protection offered by the RCMP.

Under the 1961 Vienna Convention, countries agree to protect diplomats when officially accepting ambassadors from foreign states.

But that duty depends on interpretation, and Canada rarely offers round-the-clock protection to embassies, former protocol chiefs have said, acknowledging that Ottawa is much safer than many capitals.

Israeli embassy staff said that in this climate they do not feel safe since no one in their delegation can react instantly to threats.

The embassy has security guards and has considered hiring private guards, but none have the authority to demand identification from people acting in a manner suspicious or lingering outside the Embassy.

Officials said the embassy has friendly relations with Canada and they try to resist invoking diplomatic immunity to get staff out of their jurisdiction, for example. trying to identify people.

Last month, Moscow summoned the Canadian ambassador over frustration with Ottawa's handling of security issues. security at its embassy.

The delegation has released security camera footage which appears to show a Molotov cocktail being thrown over the fence in the early hours of the 12 September and claimed that the RCMP were not taking the matter seriously enough.

The Russian Embassy also alleged that Ottawa police observed, during of a rally for Ukraine, protesters blocking access to the consular service on September 8.

Ottawa said it was reviewing these incidents, with neither police force going into specifics.

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