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We Have Met Israeli Security, and It Is Not Ours

Napolitano nixes Israel-style procedures for U.S.

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Napolitano and Israeli President Shimon Peres Monday.(Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

After the heavy Thanksgiving travel season, when all the talk was of the United States’s inefficient, intrusive, big-government, terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad airport security, some noted that the Good Alternative was Israel, which more effectively and more confidently protects an ostensibly more threatened populace. At the same time, others noted the difference in scale—Israel has one international airport, the United States has 450—and cost—Israel spends $56.75 per passenger, the United States spends $6.93. Moreover, it was not clear whether Americans, even ones miffed at the touching of junk, would tolerate the level of profiling that is Israeli security’s standard operating procedure (and indeed, as this helpful Slate Explainer makes clear, its key to success).

Visiting Israel yesterday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano confirmed the naysayers, insisting, “There are many differences in the United States system versus Israel. Part of that is driven by sheer size.” She did say she was impressed after receiving a security-focused tour of Ben Gurion Airport—a good reminder that security expertise is likely to be an increasing Israeli export over the coming years. Just don’t expect the whole system.

Napolitano: Israeli-Style Airport Security Won’t Work for U.S. [Fox News]
Related: What’s So Great About Israeli Security? [Slate]
Earlier: Israeli Airport Security All the Rage

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Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

“…**OSTENSIBLY** more threatened populace…”?!?!?

Where has Marc Tracy been these past 40-odd years since airplane hijackings and airport attacks were invented for the dubious benefit of Israeli (and Jewish) travelers? I guess he must have missed the memo.

If there was ever any evidence that Tracy is thoroughly blinded and arguably deluded by his hard-line left wing ideology, this is it. His “reality” such that it is, is not empirical, rather it is dictated by his ideology.



Andrea says:

Hershel – as is yours?

Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

No Andrea, I live in the reality here, when buses were blowing up all over the place & my then teen-aged daughter observed that teen age kids in other countries get to spend their high school years going to parties, while she spends hers going to funerals.

Michael Totten (whose knowledge and understanding of the middle east exceeds Tracy’s by orders of magnitude) observed that even during the most hellish days of the Oslo Accords War, no terrorists succeeded in penetrating B-G Airport security. And it wasn’t because they didn’t want to.

I might suggest that you read Lee Smith’s piece here ( on the moral vacuousness of many of the ostensibly moral and intellectual critics of Israel. Although Smith focused on the likes of Roger Cohen and Tony Judt as examples, it applies as well to Marc Tracy. In spades.

Jerusalem, ISRAEL

Yaakov Hillel says:

There is no chance that the Israeli security standard will work in America. I have passed through their airport and I have seen the type of people run the security check and there is no chance in the world that the Americans can reach the level of the security personal that Israel in its Airports and border crossings, Israel depends much on its profiling. The yougsters doing the profiling have finished three years of military in intelligence or combat units. They are generally are in their years of university when they do this work. The Americans on the other hand do this as salaried civil service workers that could only work by commands and not reading a persons out lined face perspiring foreheads dry tongues and another 30-40 signs that will give a felon away when crossing a border or airport that will give them away. therefore the Americans have no way of working with the same system the Israelis work.


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We Have Met Israeli Security, and It Is Not Ours

Napolitano nixes Israel-style procedures for U.S.

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