The £1.5 million security cordon – consisting of police, agents from Britain’s MI6 and members of Israel’s Mossad intelligence organisation – will protect the former Beatle during his concert in Tel Aviv after Muslim extremists issued death threats against him.
A source said: “No one is taking anything for granted. The level of security is more than we’ve ever seen. Everything is being done to ensure that this passes without incident.”
The 66-year-old musician is staying in the city’s plush Dan Hotel with girlfriend Nancy Shevell – and 21 suites surrounding his room have also been booked at a cost of £70,000 to ensure no one can get close to him.
The source added to Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper: “Only security and a handful of Paul’s entourage will be near him. Everything is tailored to ensure he is 100 per cent safe.”
Paul and Nancy arrived in Israel yesterday (24.09.08) and were surrounded by security from the moment they left their plane.
The couple later visited a music school, where Paul chatted with children and staff before performing a few songs for them. They then headed to Bethlehem’s Church of Nativity but a planned trip to the city of Ramallah was cancelled because it was considered too much of a security risk.
Paul was warned by Islamic extremist Omar Bakri “if he values his life” he should stay away from Israel’s 60th birthday celebrations but he refused to give into the threats.
He said: “Any high-profile event brings some worries but I have a very good team of people. I think most people understand that my message is a global and peaceful one.
“My mission, if I have one, is humanitarian, and concerns all people, not just a few.”
His concert comes more than 40 years after the country banned The Beatles fearing they would corrupt its young people.
The band was scheduled to appear in 1965, but after claiming their music might have a negative influence on the morality of the nation, the government refused to grant them permits.