Israeli Druze diplomat: Security at B-G Airport 'makes me want to vomit'

Reda Mansour writes angry Facebook post after his family checked at entrance to airport.

August 4, 2019 03:11
2 minute read.
Israeli Druze diplomat: Security at B-G Airport 'makes me want to vomit'

File photo of an EL AL Boeing 777 aircraft at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Nir Elias/File Photo. (photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)

Israel’s security procedures at Ben-Gurion Airport “make me want to vomit,” Reda Mansour, the country’s Ambassador to Panama, wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday after being questioned at the airport.

Mansour, a veteran and respected Druze diplomat who served previously as ambassador to Brazil and consul-general in Atlanta, related how at the checkpoint on the road to the airport the driver of his van was asked where they were coming from.

When he replied Usfiya, the car was ordered to the side, and the passengers were ordered to show passports. Mansour – traveling with his wife and daughters – was asked where he was going, and replied to Paris, and from there to Panama where he works at the embassy.

In Mansour’s telling, the female security guard – whose role is known as a scanner – spoke sharply, gave a long glance at each passenger, with her glance lingering especially long at his youngest daughter, before saying they could go on.

After the incident, he wrote, his daughter said, “It is very upsetting how she talked to you while you were smiling and replied politely.”

“Go to hell, Ben-Gurion Airport,” he wrote, describing what he thought to himself on the plane. “Thirty years of humiliation, and you are not finished yet. Once you would tear us apart in the terminal, and now we have advanced and we are suspects only at the entrance.”

Mansour wrote that Usfiya “is not a village in the territories, but the location of the central Druze IDF cemetery. The first fallen soldier on the list is the grandfather of my wife who fell in 1938 – 10 years before the establishment of the state.”

Mansour recommended that the managers of airport security be taken to the cemetery in Usfiya to learn about sacrifice and respect for country.

A spokesperson for the Airports Authority said in a response that the security checks at the airport are done equally and without regard to race, religion or gender.
“When you meet more than 25 million passengers a year, there are those who choose to be offended by an encounter with a security guard doing her job,” the spokesperson said. “Even before investigating the incident, and from reading the post, there was nothing wrong in how the scanner did her job. Also my best friends and family members, like yours, are buried in military cemeteries. I recommend to the ambassador that next time he tells his daughter that the scanner is doing everything to protect her and the country.”

Mansour’s post generated an avalanche of online comments, varying from those sympathizing and empathizing with him, and saying these are the types of indignities Arab and Druze residents encounter on a regular basis, to others who said everyone is asked similar questions when going to the airport, and that a small inconvenience necessary because of the country’s complicated security situation should not be blown out of proportion.

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