The attack in Iraq has not begun yet and no special alert has been declared yet in Israel, but the foreign media is already preparing for the possibility that missiles will fall in the greater Tel Aviv area.
In the past number of days producers for televisian crews and photographers who work from Israel have begun looking for high and appropriate rooftops to capture incoming Iraqi Scud missiles, in the event that they should fall on the greater Tel Aviv area. Eleven years ago, in January 1991, nearly all the foreign teams collected on the roof of the Tel Aviv Hilton Hotel, and turned the hotel into a world media center. But since then a number of particularly tall buildings have been built in the area, including the Azrieli towers, the Rubinstein towers and the Sheraton City Tower-and the competition over the foreign media crews is fierce.
Marianne Inbar, a producer for the British Sky television network, said that this week she will take a special tour on the rooftops of the Azrieli towers, Dizengoff Center, the Sheraton City Tower and the Hilton and the David Continental hotels.
“There is a professional dilemma as to where to position the camera team,” explained Reut Oron, a senior producer in a production company that provides services to foreign television networks, “we need to take into account the location of the Patriot missiles so as to get them when they are fired and at the same time to get as much of the view of greater Tel Aviv as possible so as to catch the falling Scuds.” She said she believed that the more “spoiled” teams would ultimately prefer to set up in the hotels in the city, opting for those that provide the technical services that they need for broadcasting.
The fiercest battle is being fought out between the Hilton, for which many of the veteran teams still have a warm spot in their hearts, and the David Intercontinental, which offers newer equipment. Both hotels told Yedioth Ahronoth that a number of television crews had already booked rooms with them. Varda Shefel, the sales manager for the David Intercontinental, explained yesterday that the producers had special demands: they book at least one entire floor in the hotel with special connections to telephone lines and optic fibers, and demand quick access to the hotel rooftop.
This article appeared in Yedioth Ahronoth on September 18, 2002