James Edward Johnson

my thoughts from right to left

Three hours in Ben Gurion … I know the experience …

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Anyone who has been through Ben Gurion Airport in Israel knows what real security looks like.  On one hand it is inconvenient, but on the other security personnel are doing their jobs well.  It is a far cry from the security theater we have here in the US.

Even so, the news of search and detention there is not always good.  Recent days brings us one such case:

[Donna] Shalala, the health and human services department secretary in the Clinton administration, said she was detained at the Tel Aviv-area airport in July for three hours for interrogation and a luggage check.

via Shalala says she was interrogated in Israel | JTA – Jewish & Israel News.

I know first-hand what Shalala experienced.  I experienced a very similar three-hour detention that included a thorough search of all my belongings and a series of interviews.  It was tiresome, but necessary.  Israel has faced “tourist” based terror threats from as far away as Britain and Japan in the past.

People who understand this do not take Israeli security procedures personally.  Shalala is a case in point:

“While I was inconvenienced, Israel’s security and the security of travelers is far more important,” Shalala said in a statement issued after returning to the United States. “I have been going in and out of Israel for many years and expect to visit again.”

And, I would agree.  Moreover, I was impressed at how well Israeli security operated.  It is not the pro forma security typical of the US.  It is real and investigative.  And, the officers tend to be particularly courteous and considerate.  Once they determine you are not a threat, they take you past all the usual security and baggage check lines and ensure you make your flight in spite of the delay.


Written by JamesEJ

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 7:48 pm

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