Old Age Rants about Security and Terrorism

As a senior citizen I am very attached to newer modes of communication.  I am, therefore, hard to separate from my smartphone with all its attachments like WhatsApp, Facebook, Gmail, Waze and, of course, news flashes from the media.  So it was a few weeks ago that without undue excitement  I heard the ping of my Gmail in our Herzliya apartment announcing a new transmission.  It turned out to be from our adult daughter with a somewhat cryptic message: I am fine.

I opened the email to read that she was in the Brussels Airport and something had happened.

I yelled to my husband to turn on CNN just as more pings from CNN and the New York Times announced a terrorist attack in Brussels Airport. I felt the immediate relief of knowing our child was safe while sharing the agony of those whose loved ones were in the airport and didn’t yet know their status. I counted myself as lucky. Yes she had an adventure ahead of her including a long lost suitcase and an unplanned trip to Paris, but soon she would be in Herzliya with us and that was all that mattered.  I imagined my hysteria if my smartphone had not delivered her email that she was okay before I knew that she might not have been! Thank you smartphone.

This led me to think of airport security and how, except in Israel, it is truly meaningless. The Brussels attack showed again the futility of checking passengers as they are preparing to board an aircraft but ignoring the public areas where people congregate without restrictions. Those killed in Brussels were in the departure lounge preparing to check in for their flights. There was no security there and they are dead because of it.

Last week, our grandson arrived at Newark Airport.  He is an Israeli and was coming in on an El Al flight to celebrate a wedding. I met his flight and expected, after Brussels, to see many levels of security in the International Arrivals area, especially for a flight arriving from Israel. There was none. No protection for either the arriving passengers or those there to greet them.

So what is the TSA in America doing with all of those billions of bucks?  I suppose they are protecting the planes since the airports are filled with non-fliers who get no protection at all.  And, by the way, it’s well known that they’re not doing a particularly good job at protecting the planes either. They’ve just been lucky most of the time since the overwhelming majority of the flying public is not planning to blow up planes and merely wants to get from point a to point b.

Contrast America to Israel and we see that America has lots to learn. We have flown in and out of Ben Gurion Airport hundreds of times and we are now in our upper 70s. We have Israeli passports. Nonetheless we are subject to intense interrogation every time we fly. But that’s the end of the story. In the beginning, our car is scrutinized as we enter the airport. We are greeted before we enter the terminal by armed soldiers.  Nothing is left to chance from the airport perimeter to the flight departure. The real danger is when the flight lands in another country and the passengers are discharged. Then it’s a matter of luck!

It seems to me that the world has two choices in confronting terrorism. They are simply to adopt the Israeli model or to end all futile security measures. The worldwide illusion of security does nothing except to hamper lifestyles and cost enormous amounts of money. Once again Israel leads the way!

— Rosanne Skopp, Herzliya and West Orange NJ

About the Author
Rosanne Skopp is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of fourteen, and great-grandmother of three. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and travels back and forth between homes in New Jersey and Israel. She is currently writing a family history.