Tom & Holly Travels
since 2004

Israeli Facts from Ziggy Gill’s, our Jewish guide’s, point of view I am writing this, while it is still fresh in my mind while waiting at the gate to board our flight to Cairo. Well it is certainly easier to get into Israel than to leave it. We had to go through 5 different security checks before getting to the gate, but we didn’t have to take off our shoes. First they ask you a bunch of questions when you come in the airport and if they don’t like the answers or the way you look they take you to a back room and luckily for me I don’t know what they do back there, but did see some people being pulled out of line. There is no doubt that they profile. After this first security check all baggage is sent through a scanner and any bag they don’t like they take a picture of and send you to another scanning station before they clear the bag. We had some guide books in one of our bags and had to take it to this station. They asked if we had any books, we said yes and they let us go on to check in, however there where a number of big check type bags that were completely unpacked and all of the contents spread out on a long table. We then went through another security check with our carry on prior to getting to passport control where passports are scanned and people are profiled again. If anything unusual comes up in the passport scan back to the back room where I envision rubber hoses and water boarding, however thankfully I don’t know. We then proceed to the final screening where in the US you would have to take off your shoes, but here you don’t. Only saw one person that had to take off their shoes and they were wearing big high thick boots. The security and check in people are not at all friendly and very regimented but you have to remember Israel has mandatory military service when a person turns 18, and no deferments unless you are an Orthodox Jew, and the majority of Israelis that put their life on the line daily for the survival of Israel are not at all happy about Orthodox Jews being deferred. All girls have to serve 2 years and all males 3 years and then they can go on to college or pursue a career. There is also no shortage of visible guns. I even saw a young guy in a t shirt and jeans with an AK-47 with a clip in on his back praying at the wall. I asked the guide what that was about and he said the guy was probably from the West Bank where everyone is armed all the time for survival. I am sending this from the gate so I don’t know what we are going to have to do to board the plane.