New Idea

Should We 'Israelify' Our Airports?

As airport security becomes an ever-hotter North American flashpoint, The Toronto Star examines Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, which has long toiled against terrorism. "It is mind-boggling for us Israelis to look at what happens in North America, because we went through this 50 years ago," said one Israeli security expert. As Israel clamped down on airports, they refused to let go of efficiency—so, instead of an elaborate and exhaustive pre-gate screening, there are six smaller security checks embedded into the travel process: a roadside check en route to the airport, multiple checks before getting to the gate, and another just before boarding the plane. Officers use behavioral screening to pinpoint nervous or distressed passengers, including at the roadside check where the only questions are “How are you?” and “Where are you going?” Screening areas are blastproof and equipped with "bomb boxes" so that suspicious packages can be neutralized in a split-second without needing to throw the entire airport into disarray.