Article author: Miky Weinberg – Owner of the Tarantula Technologies Ltd and Octagon Security Ltd Companies.
The best unit in the world with the most wanted protectors in the world, this is how the latest news report on the ISA’s close protection unit opened. The ISA and the unit’s management did not cooperate with the idea behind it, and veterans of that unit wrote on social media how much they did not like the main statement of the news report, that this is the best unit in the world, and how that statement is dangerous. Probably, many of the civilians who watched the news report may not understand why the unit and its veterans are not happy with the definition that is perceived as flattering since naturally and logically, who does not want to be the best in the world?
As a veteran of that unit, I will try to explain the reason for the unit’s and its veterans’ dissatisfaction with a definition that should be flattering and prestigious.
The assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
The failure to prevent the assassination of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4, 1995, became from that day an open wound for the unit and its people for generations with no future expiration date. In 2018, photographer Ziv Koren accompanied the unit for a year during its routine work and training. As usual, even after reading Ziv Koren’s article, I took the time to read dozens of comments from citizens who saw fit to write their personal opinion on the unit. One of the comments made me stop mainly because it reminded me that there are failures that go on with you for life and because even though 25 years have passed since the incident, there are civilians, like the civilian who wrote the response who manages to explain in a few words what is kept in the unit and its people in memory that leaves the wound open and does not allow it to heal.
The language of the response: “What a load of bellowing and posturing, during the moment of truth!!! They failed in protecting!!!
A response from an ordinary citizen that explains well why a unit in general and a close protection specialist, in particular, cannot be defined or perceive themselves as the best in the world. Unlike sports, for example, whereas an athlete or sports team, one faces their adversary when he or she is seen and/or his or her moves are seen all the time, close protection specialists will act and maneuver knowing that most of the time they will not be able to see the adversary in front of their eyes at all. When athletes win and can look their adversaries in the eye, see how they react, know if they are scared, feel if they are deterred and if they are hurt, the close protection specialist on the other hand works in a kind of ignorance and deals most of the time with a “virtual” adversary. Close protection specialists do not have the privilege of knowing whether the actions they performed in all their rounds of dealing with adversaries are effective and really affect them, and usually, the first physical encounter between them will occur only when the adversary decides to perform the attacking action. This is the moment of truth that the citizen wrote about, one quick moment that puts the unit and its close protection specialists to the most difficult personal and professional test that will ultimately determine whether their mission ended in success or failure.
A unit and the personal close protection specialists who have experienced the price and pain of failure will do anything to never fail again and will never think they are the best in the world and will not seek to award themselves honors and awards for their work.
When you think you’re the best in the world, you will fail!!!
Since I served in the unit about four years before the prime minister’s assassination, I can confidently say that my friends and I thought we worked in the best close protection unit in the world and we were the best personal close protection specialists in the world, we thought we would defeat any adversary who tried to deal with us. We were sure there could not be a situation where we failed. This is the message that came down from above and managed to become a belief that this is true. We thought there was room for comparison between us and other units in the world. I think until the moment of failure, a lot of people would have thought that a unit set up in 1958 and that for 37 years no personality under its protection was scratched, could get the title of the best unit in the world but after that, they realized it was a deceptive illusion. We, the personal close protection specialists, also in the ISA’s Close Protection Unit, after failing the biggest failure we could have dreamed of, we realized that the profession we chose could not be the best in the world and that the only honors in this field are shown only in the moment of truth. In retrospect, for the first time, we learned a hard and cruel lesson through which we understood the side effects of thinking that one is the best in the world and that this leads to only one result, failure!!! From November 4, 1995, every unit commander, every manager, and every close protection specialist present and past, lives and breathes the aforementioned lesson and in life will not think or say that he or she is the best personal close protection specialist in the world and this does not stand in contradiction to the fact that there should be a unit esprit de corps.
Esprit de corps
An operational unit will not survive without esprit de corps among those who serve in it and therefore every commander has to incorporate content related to this subject. In the close protection unit, many command and administrative changes have been made to move from a sense of “I am the best in the world” that destroys a strong, healthy, and constructive sense of esprit de corps. Every close protection specialist admitted to the unit learns about the failure already in his or first training session and will start working only after realizing one hundred percent what is the difference between being the best in the world and a professional and skilled close protection specialist, and throughout his or her service will continue to absorb this during routine work and training. This is true for every employee in the unit. The esprit de corps is based on the quality of the personnel, the structure of the unit, the attitude of the agency’s leadership to the unit, the cooperation with other units in the agency, the employee employment track, the level of investment in training and coaching, the level of investment in personal and general equipment, the level of attention to each employee and more. Employees of the ISA’s Close Protection Unit will proudly say that thanks to everything that is invested in them, they feel professional and skilled.
Professional and skilled close protection specialists
For 25 years, the goal of all of the unit’s commanders has been to invest everything possible to prepare the close protection specialists for the day when they will have to deal with an adversary who manages to reach the principal and carry out an attack. This is a difficult and challenging goal that to achieve it is necessary to work 24/7, 365 days a year, with focused thinking about the potential adversaries and their professional abilities. Since the failure, a 180-degree change has been made in the unit structure following which all prevention professions have been separated to allow dedicated units to allow the close protection specialist in the last defensive ring to focus and concentrate almost exclusively on thwarting through physical combat against adversaries should all the other preceding defensive rings fail. In recent years, it is permissible to define the close protection specialists in the unit as ones who are professional and skilled at a high level and this is based on everything that is invested in the level of training, routine accompaniment, the level of protection around them and the level of personal technological means that they are equipped with. Will that be enough to determine that the close protection specialist will always defeat the adversary? Is that enough to know for sure that the unit cannot experience failure again? of course not.
The ISA’s Close Protection Unit, Unit 730, does not want and should not be the best unit in the world. Years will pass since the failure of November 4, 1995.
As an operational unit, all that interests the unit’s commanders and the people who serve in it is to succeed in distancing the adversaries from the principals under their responsibility and not fail on the day they will have to face the adversaries, no matter how many years have passed since the failure of November 4, 1995.