Pardon the interruption

It's not often that the general public catches a glimpse of behind-the-scenes security precautions for celebrities and officials of high rank. Especially in Israel, whose leaders are among the most closely guarded people in the world. Earlier this week, though, radio listeners in the Jewish state learned a little about how well their foreign minister – and perhaps soon-to-be prime minister – is kept out of harm's way. Tzipi Livni, who is seeking votes for her Kadima Party in the Feb. 10 national election, agreed to be interviewed live on Army Radio from her office in Jerusalem. Normally, such exposure to the media is carefully, even rigidly, controlled by staff people who try to ensure that there will be no unwelcome surprises that might ensnare their candidate. Not this time. Shortly after the interview began, an unidentified man's voice was heard over the telephone line repeatedly summoning police to her residence in Ramat Hahayal, a leafy suburb of Tel Aviv favored by up-and-coming career types. There had been, a bodyguard said, an "intruder alert" – a suspected break-in. Livni kept her poise, however, and said into the phone, "Everything's OK; I'm [still] here." She even joked that "now everyone knows where I live." And in the style of an experienced public figure, she offered to call the station back on her cellphone so the rest of the interview could proceed without interruption. As for the break-in, it apparently turned out to be a false alarm. Someone accidentally had pressed an alert button.

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