Israel is a model for dealing with terror, but as a visitor coming to Israel for the first time, it can be scary to enter an airport. We do things differently than in Europe and the US, and part of that is due to the long history of terrorism in the country.
The moment visitors land at Ben Gurion airport, they’re in for an experience they’ve never seen in the states.
Preliminary security checkpoints have armed guards that are trained to swiftly search vehicles and gauge the mood of passengers in vehicles. Highly trained and taught to detect the mood and intentions of travelers, the idea of armed guards stopping every vehicle is foreign to most travelers.
It’s a scary moment for many.
Terminals are filled with armed security that patrols the area and monitors everyone that enters a terminal building. Security will pick out anyone that is acting out of the norm and talk to them to further assess the situation.
Israel’s airport security is a streamlined process of ensuring that everyone entering an airport is safe.
But it goes a step further. There’s a weight sensor that vehicles go over, undercarriage scans and even a trunk x-ray to ensure that vehicles don’t contain weapons or explosives. Departing passengers are also questioned by security agents before they reach check-in.
You won’t find x-ray machines at the checkpoints. Instead, metal detectors will scan all passengers to ensure that they don’t have any weapons or illegal items on them.
Ben Gurion is one of the safest airports in the world. The airport has its own security force and doesn’t use private companies to ensure that all personnel are able to detect the “human factor.” Nothing is left to chance. Pressure chambers have checked baggage pass through them.
Ben Gurion has been free from attacks and hijackings since the 1970s. United States officials and airports around the world have met with officials at the airport to help make their facilities safer. Los Angeles International Airport has mulled over the idea of implementing similar security measures, but officials claim the measures would cause longer wait times and push ticket prices higher.
Tourists and locals alike will also find that touring companies take no chances with their guests. Hotspots, such as Kever Rachel and Hebron, are visited often during the holidays, and when guests book a tour, the companies place all passangers in a bulletproof car to reduce the risk of a terrorist attack.
The increase in security is a way of life for Israelis, but it shouldn’t turn off visitors who come to the country. Our measures may seem extreme, but our airports and tours are some of the safest in the world.
CNN Travel even reports that Ben Gurion is one of the world’s safest airports. Flights are flagged daily, checked and investigated to ensure that there are no potential risks onboard. Attacks in Brussels and Egypt have caused many countries to send officials to speak to Ben Gurion officials.
While Ben Gurion has less traffic than larger airports, it’s security measures offer fundamental principles that many of the largest airports in the world are starting to mimic.