After several reports emerged regarding invasive security procedures at Ben Gurion Airport, media outlets began picking up the story of several women bloggers who shared their experiences on the leftist Mondoweiss blog forum.
Claiming forced email and social media checks, strip searches, extensive baggage processing, laptop and other hardware searches, and finally overnight detention and deportation, the women claim they were stopped merely because of their Arab and Muslim identities.
While racial profiling is the norm at Ben Gurion Airport – a procedure that has successfully stopped hundreds of terrorists from carrying out attacks – the women claim the security personal went beyond their duties and jurisdiction.
When questioned about the searches, Ronit Eckstein, a spokesperson for the Israel Airports Authority, told Haaretz that the Interior Ministry was “responsible for the entry of tourists to Israel, and that the security officials who interrogated the women were not employed by the Airports Authority or by Ben Gurion Airport.”
Haaretz reports that in response, the Interior Ministry said that the security checks are the responsibility of the Shin Bet security service.
Following more inquiry, the Shin Bet confirmed that two of the women had been questioned after arriving in Israel, but that the actions taken by the agents during questioning were within the organization’s authority according to Israeli law.