Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hitting the Bottle

Well, my wife and I are back from visiting our son in the Holy City of Jerusalem, and visiting other friends and relatives, and seeing Israel. Our return flight was rather turbulent so the "Fasten Seat Belt" signs were on for almost the entire time (though we did get up and walk around a bit). One of the passengers had a medical exigency, but she seemed okay after they met her with a wheelchair at the landing.

But, with the tailwinds slightly more intense than anticipated, we actually landed a few minutes early. It's good to be back home again. But I already miss Israel and the Holy City of Jerusalem.

This posting deals with the differences between the respective security of American airports and Israeli airports. Specifically, the US Department of Homeland Security Transportation Safety Administration's "Three Ounce Rule" for carrying liquids on airplanes.

As is widely known, airline passengers are limited to 3-ounce bottles of liquids, in a 1-quart clear plastic bag, onto airlines. Accordingly, that liter of bottled water I was sipping had to be discarded when I entered the airport at Newark. At Israel's Lod Airport (while I appreciate what David Ben Gurion achieved, I am not a worshipper of Ben Gurion and accordingly, still call the airport "Lod"; just as I still call the international airport in New York City "Idlewyld"), I was permitted to continue sipping my liter of bottled water as I entered, and eventually to carry it onto the airplane; indeed, I carried the same bottle, with more than 3 ounces remaining, off the plane when it landed in the USA.

This is not an indicium of Israel's lax security. Indeed, they detected, in my wife's luggage, the two bottles of Prigat orange juice concentrate, and required her to open the suitcase before allowing it to be checked. Israeli air travel security has long been the benchmark. Even back in 1973, when I was traveling back via El Al, I was asked some pointed questions regarding my stay in Israel. I had spent time on an archaeological dig, and the airport security people asked me questions regarding the dig which, had I not been there, I would not have been able to properly answer. Had American airports even come close to Israel's standards in 2001, then the Muslim terrorist attack of September 11th would almost surely not have been successful (and might not have even been attempted).

The difference between TSA's security and Israel's security is that the TSA people inspect luggage and bags, while the Israelis check out and evaluate people. Suitcases don't commit acts of terror, terrorists do! And the Israeli's prime objective is to spot the terrorists, not to look into suitcases.

Until TSA starts looking for terrorists (which would include the use of valuable tools such as profiles) instead of measuring the ounces of water in the bottles carried by passengers, then I will feel more secure traveling from Israeli airports than from American airports.

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