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Wednesday, December 1, 2010



Departure lounge at Ben Gurion aiport, Israel

I can’t help it, the  only airport I feel really safe in is Ben Gurion in Israel.

I know I have to arrive earlier there than at any other airport in the world.   I know by heart  all the questions I’ll be asked. But I also  know that everything connected to security is ‘tachlis’, to the point and relevant with no nonsense of political correctness.

They don’t care about a baby’s bottle of milk or the coke I’m drinking – it’s me and the other passengers they are looking at. Do we look and  act like  possible terrorists.

“How many children do you have” they once asked me.

“Seven” I replied.

“What are your their names?”

I could have said any names I liked as they aren’t listed in my passport – but that didn’t bother them. They just wanted to see that I didn’t hesitate when answering.

But in general I’m usually let through quite quickly. I don’t fit the profile of a terrorist . I’m not the one they’re looking for. Others don’t get off so lightly.

airport traveler

I  wouldn’t like to be traveling in the US over the Xmas holidays. The airport staff are all already stressed out and scared. Even after their horrific experience of 9/11 they are  forbidden to  ‘profile’ passengers but can only subject everyone to the same  stupid scrutiny and irrelevant checks – despite their better judgment.

They will confiscate your hair mousse if the container is a few grams over the permitted amount. They’ll make you remove your baby’s bottle and drink the milk to prove it’s not poisonous. They will make you take off your shoes,  subject you to body scans and pat-downs that anger many travelers. But they will never question you because you look  Middle Eastern,  nervous  and frightened and keep looking over your shoulder. That’s not allowed.

luggage carousel

And  unfortunately the sad fact is that even if G’d forbid there should be another airline disaster, I doubt if it will change the methods employed at US and European airports. Politics seems to me more important than safety and security.

I remember when my nephew was hounded by our security personnel at the airport . It was nerve wracking for him  and very amusing for us when we heard about it later. But the fact remains that  our security guys  did  a tremendous   job and because of them I feel safe and secure in  our airport – but not unfortunately in any other.

Whenever I’m abroad , it’s such a relief to get back home safely.

Ben Gurion airport arrival lounge. Luggage carousel


Rosalind Adam said...

I don't fly unless I absolutely have to but when we went to Bruges in the summer, we were put through the same rigorous checks by the Eurostar people before boarding the train. It made me feel safer to know that they were checking up on everyone and I didn't mind taking off my shoes because everyone else was having to do the same.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

I am not Jewish but admire the way you look after your own. But security issues must be done with awareness and compassion; Not always the case.

Ann said...

Me too. I don't mind the inconvenience if it's going to make travel safer and if it's 'sensible' inconvenience - not mindless.

We don't only look after our own - we try to look after everyne who flies with our airline and to and from our country - and that includes thousands of non Jewish visitors.
You are right about needing awareness and compassion, but sometimes the security personnel need to sound a bit terse and rough - after all there are a plane load of lives at stake.

My nephew who is 'very' Jewish was not treated very kindly but he understood why and accepted it .