In yet another sign that broader war between Israel, Syria, and Iran may be on the horizon Israel’s Channel 10 has revealed in an exclusive broadcast that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently ordered all national security cabinet meetings to be held in a secure underground bunker in Jerusalem.
The National Security Cabinet (NSC), also known as the “inner cabinet,” is akin to the US National Security Council and convenes regularly under the authority of the prime minister in the Prime Minister’s building in Jerusalem. However, according to Channel 10’s Barak Ravid, who broke the story, Netanyahu made the decision out of fear of leaks related to “sensitive discussions on Syria and Iran.”
The underground secure Jerusalem bunker normally hosts the National Crisis Management Center, responsible for emergency planning and response during times of war or national crises.
Thus far, according to Ravid, “two security cabinet meetings have been already held in the secure bunker and according to the schedules of several ministers.” Sources within the cabinet speaking under condition of anonymity to Channel 10 revealed that, “Netanyahu’s moved the security cabinet meetings to the bunker because of the fear of leaks from sensitive discussions on Syria and Iran.”
It appears the underground bunker location will become the semi-permanent meeting place, as Ravid further reports that “the next four security cabinet meeting are also planned to take place in the sensitive facility.”
Israels YNet news has described the bunker as costing “hundreds of millions of shekels” and set up “to enable the government to run the country in times of emergency,” while Arutz Sheva national news has described cabinet meetings as taking place in a soundproofed room.
While it’s unclear if significant security leaks on Israeli war planning have already occurred, or if Netanyahu is merely taking extreme precautions, the original Channel 10 report confirmed the move is “an attempt to prevent leaks.”
According to Israel Channel 10’s reporting, further measures are being taken within the bunker to ensure security during the highly sensitive meetings (rush translation):
The number of people who can enter the shelter is very limited, and as a result, ministers’ assistants are no longer present at the meetings. In addition, the conduct of the bunker requires those present to attend the meeting without cell phones, and even when they are allowed to access the devices, it takes 10-15 minutes to reach the area where the reception takes place.