Photo Credit: courtesy
Left to Right: Alexandre Vieira, Yaniv Smirnov, former policeman José Gouveia and Luís Andrade.

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

The attack was carried out by a terrorist armed with a submachine gun and hand grenade, who was suspected of being a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).


In addition to the murder of Ildefonso Pereira, the Israeli Ambassador to Portugal, his driver and two other people were all wounded in the attack.

Then-Israeli Prime Menachem Begin sent special envoy Avraham Avidor to Portugal for Pereira’s funeral, and to the hospital where Ambassador Eldar lay injured.

“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,” she noted.

“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,” said Luís Andrade, president of the International Observatory for Human Rights.

Also speaking at the ceremony was Pedro Neto Gouveia, Deputy National Director of the Portuguese Police, who said “the institution is the only one in Portugal that has the mission of accompanying and defending diplomats and takes this responsibility very seriously”.

Alexandre Vieira, commander of the PSP’s personal security body, added that “our agents are willing to give their lives in defense of the ambassadors and other high-level figures, as happened to agent Ildefonso Pereira.”

“Terrorism is the greatest enemy of the democratic rule of law,” said Prof. Rui Pereira, former Minister of Police and Internal Administration, and former director of the Portuguese secret services.

“The work to prevent terrorism is essential, because any surprise in this area usually has a tragic end.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the head of security at the Israeli embassy in Portugal, Yaniv Smirnov, who works in coordination with the Portuguese police, thanked the police for participating in the tribute.

“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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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.