Monday, September 3, 2007

Let Them Bring Bombs

"Let them bring bombs" is the real message underlying the article Our Holiday Journey: Another rude and unpleasant experience at Ben Gurion Airport written by Nabil Razzouk (, a humanitarian aid worker who allegedly works with some unnamed international NGO. The article appears in This Week in Palestine and has been distributed widely to anti-Israel venues on the web.

In an article rife with omissions and inaccuracies, Razzouk complains about the security measures at Ben Gurion Airport, apparently preferring that the Israeli authorities make it as easy as possible for terrorists to blow up airliners. He is another example of the anti-Israel bias pervading so many non-governmental organizations injecting themselves into the Arab-Israeli conflict, again demonstrating the need for groups like NGO Monitor to cast light on their nefarious activities.

Razzouk relates his family's alleged experience at the airport. I write alleged because his description contains clear errors, casting doubt on his honesty.
Upon our arrival at the airport, we queue to check in and are greeted by a half-asleep employee who requests our tickets and passports. As she goes through the documents, she starts the routine questions: "Where are you coming from now?" After our response, she becomes pale and calls to her colleague for help.
One does not queue to check in upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport; one first goes through a security check. It is the thoroughness of this security check that makes Ben Gurion a safe airport despite the efforts of terrorists who would love perpetuate a massacre there or hijack or blow up a plane.

Razzouk ambiguously implies it was his response to the one question he mentioned that prompted additional scrutiny, but both omits his answer and is unclear about whether there were other questions and answers which prompted the scrutiny.

My wife and I have not only gone through similar scrutiny at Ben Gurion Airport, but when traveling to Israel always travel El Al precisely because of its thorough security system. We learned our lesson the one time we tried flying to Israel on another, now defunct airline, TWA, because we were able to get a good deal on our tickets.

With no prior security, the check-in clerk, while looking at our tickets but not at us, said "you packed your own bags, didn't you?" My wife and I looked at each other and were already wondering whether the risk made it worth saving a few hundred dollars on the tickets.

Either she or another check-in clerk carelessly let three Arab teenagers without proper documents onto the flight. The discovery of this blunder led to a four hour delay after the plane was fully boarded. It was both unpleasant and nervewracking to be forced to sit on the poorly ventilated plane as the undocumented passengers were questioned, their luggage unloaded and searched and the upholstery near their seats removed and searched.

At the time, I felt relatively safe when the three passengers were let back on the plane, confident they would not blow up their own plane. That was obviously before the onset of the suicide bomber epidemic. If a similar incident happened today, I would run off the plane.

I'm very thankful for the careful security checks by what Razzouk maligns as the "so-called 'Israel Airport Security Authority.'" I'm thankful they pay attention not only to the answers given, but the way the answers are given. Indeed, it was likely Razzouk's hostility which set off a red flag on the part of the security services and led them to take extra care.

Razzouk further complains that her luggage, after passing through the screening machine, was hand searched. My wife and I went through the same experience last year and were relieved. We knew we had something in our luggage that might look suspicious and would have gotten nervous if Israeli security had let it on the plane without a careful check.

Another Razzouk complaint had to do with the fact that security personnel examined her daughter's doll, as if terrorists were above placing bombs in children's toys.

And of course the body search. I remember my mother-in-law describe the body search she went through, a search which included an internal search, when fulfilling her life-long dream of visiting Israel about three decades ago, at a time when Arab terrorism was far less prevalent. As a Jewish woman in her sixties, I doubt she fit the typical profile for a terrorist, but she must have done something that made security cautious.

Razzouk says she felt compelled to ask "Do you think a terrorist would attach a bomb or explosives to the body of his own baby?" and says they all fall silent.

Most likely they were trying to be as polite as possible, since Arab terrorists have been found to use even infants to hide bombs and explosives; were children not checked, they would provide a virtual sieve for the smuggling of weapons.

Razzouk finds "this entire ordeal to be illogical, meaningless, rude, and unpleasant - outrageous for any human being to have to endure."

I agree that it is outrageous that any human beings have to endure such security checks. I suspect most of the personnel performing the security checks also agree.

Unfortunately, as long as Arab terrorists continue their far more outrageous campaign aimed at murdering innocent people and ultimately destroying Israel, these outrageous security checks are essential. I am thankful Israel undertakes them and am even more thankful to the security personnel who are willing to perform these unpleasant tasks in order to safeguard the lives of innocent people.

1 comment:

KGS said...

Good post. I have run into the same kind of deceptive claims and charges being made about Israeli security measures at Ben Gurion airport.

The way they write about their experiences, "with an almost delightful glee" that they were scrutinized more than other travelers, gives their hand away.

They more than likely hope for the added extra attention in order to write up juicier stories about their "humiliation" at the hands of the evil Israelis.