Well, I’m through security. Sitting in Segafredo Zanetti, enjoying a very nice Israeli Chardonnay. Everyone told me to get to Ben Gurion at least 3 hours before my flight so that I could get through the security process. Now I understand why. These people are serious about their security.
When you first get to the airport you have to get in a line to get your luggage X-rayed before you even get to check in for your flight and get your boarding pass. This is the initial grilling. Passport please? Long study of the passport followed by a long study of my face. Why were you in Israel, where did you stay, do you have a receipt? Did anyone give you a present? Where has your luggage been? Is it remotely possible that someone could have gotten access to your luggage? You were at a conference? Can you prove it? and on and on… Finally when he seemed satisfied, there was much flipping through my passport and studying of dates and places. Are these guys working for Mosad or are they low level airport security employees?? My bet is on the former. Dude, I’m trying to leave your country not smuggle something in. Once you get past this initial questioning, your luggage is put through some kind of industrial strength X-ray machine. When the X-ray is done your bag is pretty much ejected as if being shot out of a cannon.
The British airways desk is pretty easy compared to the initial grilling. And because it takes so long to answer all of the questions and get your bags X-rayed, the lines at the checkin counter are pretty short. Sadly I did not get a free upgrade from Israel to London. But, I did get an aisle seat.
Now you have to go through security. Passport and boarding pass. Everything out. OK, my Namibian Rock sculpture seems to be a real curiosity. Thank God I didn’t bring the Magnetite! I think the rock sculpture went back and forth through the X-ray machine 3 times in three different orientations. Finally, all was well and I was able to proceed.
Just when you thought you were done… passport control. Again with the questions, and studying of the passport.
Finally you are through. Now, here’s the final indignity. My guide for the morning had told me that the Golan Heights Chardonnay was well worth getting in the duty free shop. Sounds great. So, I head to the “worlds largest duty free” and ask the guy where the Golan Heights Chardonnay is. Right here sir. But…. “Are you flying to the US?” Yes I am. Well, sir, you are not allowed to take any liquids into the USA if you are coming from Israel. Really?? But, its duty free, I thought that was allowed. ”I’m sorry sir, they do not trust our security”
P.S. Yes, there was one more passport check as I passed out of the common area and onto my concourse.