Confessions of a journalist

It is reported that there are more than 1,000 isolated incidents of terrorist attacks foiled in Israel proper every day. This fact could be criticized based on who actually supplies the data, whether it is indeed correct, and of course what is defined as Israel proper. I am sharing with you the readers a sound testimonial of what the front line of Israel is doing to deter terrorists, or journalists and little old ladies – both can be substituted in this instance. When describing the “front line,” there is a connotation that one is describing Israeli war hawks or the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) at Rosh Hanikra, not so. Believe it or not, the front line in Israel is your courteous and friendly, “the reason I ask this is because in the past, people posing as friends have given gifts …” personnel in Ben-Gurion Airport and El-Al security. These are some of the men and the women who prevent the “1,000 estimated terrorist attacks attempted per day.” So, when I was flagged at Passport Control and detained in a secondary passport area, I was unaware of the three-hour ordeal that was to follow. After waiting for a long period of time, enduring incomprehensible boredom, I was escorted into a room where answers to my interrogators’ questions were irrelevant. They wanted to know why I wanted to be in Israel (work), why I had been to Pakistan (vacation), and why my passport was so full (work and vacation). For the better part of an hour, I surrendered every iota of information about myself, save for my mom’s maiden name, and thought I was on the next train to Tel Aviv. Wrong again. Flagged once more at security post-Passport Control and pre-baggage carousel, a burgeoning group of a near dozen personnel realized I was worse for the wear: exhibiting hand tremors as a result of my sporting history of muscle atrophy, low blood-sugar, nervousness, frustration and sleep deprivation. After revealing I was a journalist (a faux pas), this further raised concerns as to whether or not I was a threat to Israel. Finally and it must be said, victoriously, passing test number two, I was shepherded to a room where an intense scrutiny of my baggage unfolded. A hot chocolate later and into the third hour of my stay at the airport, I was finally free to go. The question remains, is this how Israel tallies the number of terrorist acts that are foiled each year?

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