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Portuguese officer killed in 1979 attack on Israeli ambassador honored

Ildefonso Pereira died in the line of duty while saving the life of Israeli Ambassador Ephraim Eldar.

Event held in Portugal pays tribute to Ildefonso Pereira, who died in the line of duty while saving the life of the Israeli Ambassador to Portugal Ephraim Eldar in 1979, June 23, 2024. (Courtesy).
Event held in Portugal pays tribute to Ildefonso Pereira, who died in the line of duty while saving the life of the Israeli Ambassador to Portugal Ephraim Eldar in 1979, June 23, 2024. (Courtesy).

The International Observatory for Human Rights and B’nai B’rith International Portugal paid tribute on Sunday to Ildefonso Pereira, who died in the line of duty while saving the life of the Israeli Ambassador to Portugal Ephraim Eldar in 1979.

Pereira, a member of the Personal Security Corps of the Public Security Police, was killed by a suspected PLO terrorist armed with a submachine gun and a hand grenade. Eldar, his driver and two other people were wounded in the attack.

Then-Israeli Prime Menachem Begin sent a special envoy, Avraham Avidor, to Portugal for Pereira’s funeral and to visit Eldar in hospital.

“It is especially important to pay tribute to brave police agents in Portugal and around the world, who guard Israeli diplomats and are the targets of those who seek to murder and destroy any representative or institution of the Jewish state,” said Gabriela Cantergi, president of B’nai B’rith International Portugal. “Unfortunately, in this current atmosphere, it is only a matter of time before an Israeli ambassador or diplomat is once again the target of an attempted murder.”

Luís Andrade, president of the International Observatory for Human Rights, said, “We honor Ildefonso Pereira for his heroism and recognize the Personal Security Corps for proving every day that it is a professional force, without which the rule of law could not exist. It is a force extraordinarily devoted to the personal security of high-ranking entities, members of sovereign bodies and other citizens subject to threats.”

Added Pedro Neto Gouveia, deputy national director of the Portuguese Police: “The institution is the only one in Portugal that has the mission of accompanying and defending diplomats, and takes this responsibility very seriously.”

At the end of the ceremony, the head of security at the Israeli embassy in Portugal, Yaniv Smirnov, who works in coordination with the Portuguese police, said: “Today, in your presence and through this tribute to one of you who paid the highest price for his commitment to us, I want to thank, on behalf of the State of Israel, the ambassador and myself, the Portuguese government for the entire security infrastructure that allows us to live here in safety and to each and every one of the officers from all the police forces who work with us, for their invaluable service and collaboration.”

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