Israel's Airport Security Factors in Ethnic Profiling

"Ultimately it's a question of as certaining apassenger's loyalty to Israel explained the former examiner, who worked at Atarot, Ben-Gurion and Eilat airports as well as Israeli airline terminals abroad for a few years during the last decade.

A Jew would only be coming here because he loves Israe land he wouldn't commit a terrorist act.

You can't make that same assumption about... Arabs or non-Jews he told the Post.

While Israeli Arab passengers who served in the IDFare considered no riskier than Jews, he noted that otherwise, Israeli Arabs are treated with much greater suspicion than non-Arab gentiles. Like night and day he said.

The former examiner maintained that while the profiling system caused misery" to countless innocent Arab and other non-Jewish passengers it was critical to airline security because it accurately reflected the demographics of anti-Israeli terror.

Howeverhe condemned the behavior of a "minority" of Israeli airport security inspectors whom he witnessed treating non-Jewish passenger sespecially Arabs with rudeness, a rough manner of speech, manhandling their possessions, being overly suspicious and sometimes even vindictive over fresh terror attacks by Arabs .

Airports Authority spokesman Shmuel Hefetz deferred all questions about security to the Shin Bet (IsraelSecurity Agency)which refused to be interviewed. The spokesman pointed out that an IAA unit staffed by three Israeli Arabs had been set up to provide Arab passengerswith a more familiar "address" for their concerns. AlsoIAA general manager Gabi Ophir has been meeting in aregular forum with representatives of the Israeli Arabcommunity.

Recentlyseveral Israeli Arabs have complainedpublicly of mistreatment by airport security inspectors.Arab MK Nadia Hilou (Labor) said Shin Bet head Yuval Diskinrecently told her that in a few monthsa new screeningtechnology that preempts ethnic profiling will be tested atBen-Gurionand should be installed permanently in 18 to 24months.

Howeveran airport official was skeptical. "If youthink some young guy on his own from the West Bank townof Jaljulya is going to be able to waltz onto a planewithout being searched - that's not going to happen theofficial said.

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