Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, is at the Lotte Palace Hotel in New York for two days during my own visit here this week. He’s two floors or so above me with his entourage.
The security, in my rough estimation and merely within two blocks of the hotel on all sides (59th Street is closed to traffic, and so is that particular hotel entrance), comprises: 25 New York City police vehicles; 14 SUVs; about 10 unmarked cars in otherwise prohibited spaces; 30 or more secret service agents (who, improbably, have “secret service” printed on their uniforms); about two dozen extra hotel security people; at least 20 Israeli security people (who are surly and arrogant, all the US people are extremely polite); and a few secret service police dogs, which are better behaved than anyone.
This is all for two days, for one person. I don’t know that much about Israeli politics—US politics are confusing enough—but I respect Mr Netanyahu as the head of state of a close ally.
But enough is enough. Sometimes I’m the only guy on the elevator without an earpiece or radio. I may be, with my group, the only paying guest here! Do we really need hundreds of people and tens of millions in expense to protect against what seems to be the threat of a military assault in the middle of Manhattan?!
A very attractive, well-dressed woman in the lobby stared at me as i walked down the staircase last evening to meet my group for dinner. Women don’t stare at me. She kept it up until I was next to her. “Let me guess,” I said, “you’re security.”
“Yes, I am,” she confirmed, and began staring at the next guest. Well, I had my moment.