Even as the United States consults Israel over airport security in the wake of the attempted Christmas Day bombing, it is becoming increasingly clear that, as several folks have already noted, Israel’s extremely strict and extremely successful screening process is simply not transferable to the States.
And it’s not just the almost incomprehensibly massive difference in scale (Israel has only one international airport, and it’s approximately the same size as that of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Chicago’s O’Hare, alone, handles eight times as many passengers). As much, it’s a cultural disparity: Israelis are vastly more willing to put up with inconvenience and racial profiling. The Forward’s Nathan Guttman writes:
Most Israeli-run security consulting companies have since downsized or left the field of airport security due to the difficulty in overcoming cultural gaps that prevented implementing Israeli methods in American airports. “People simply won’t agree to spend all that time and money,” he said. “You can’t change the way people think.” Bezherano added another factor: “Americans find it hard to swallow a security policy that employs different standards to different groups.”
In other words, while there are certainly ways in which America can go to school on Israel’s airport-security putt, it will never have remotely as comprehensive national airport security—and, consequently, is unlikely to have quite the same stellar success at Israel when it comes to preventing problems.