How Israel Approaches Airport Security

Given the ongoing tension in the Middle East, one might reasonably think fears of terrorism would keep potential travelers away from Tel Avivs Ben Gurion Airport even in the face of cheap airplane tickets and cheap vacation packages. Interestingly Israelis these days seem more confident about flying than many Americans.

The most recent airport security breach at Tel Avivs airport was in 2002 when a passenger accidentally carried a handgun onto a flight. So what makes do Israeli airport security do differently?

As soon as anyone drives into the parking lot at the airport they are met by armed guards that closely monitor incoming cars. You are asked how you are and why you are there.

Once inside the airport additional questions are asked while you wait in line at check in.

There are selective hand inspections of bags, including bags to be checked.

Then there are a series of scanners and metal detectors travelers go through.

Israelis use behavior profiling (vs. profiling by country, religion, or ethnicity) looking for things like body language, profuse sweating and other signs of discomfort. Unlike in the US, bags remain with passengers until security checks are complete.

What really makes Israeli security measures stand out is the reliance placed of questioning. These questions are detailed and probing, with security personnel seemingly paying more attention to how passengers react to the questions than the answers themselves.

Maybe the TSA (Transport Security Administration) could learn a thing or two from the Israelis and ultimately Americans could become more confident when considering cheap travel.

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