A man who was a known terrorist and, it turned out, had explosives lining his underwear was able to board an American plane headed from Amsterdam to Detroit, provoking, among other things, much questioning over how to prevent future such errors. One prominent idea? In the Tweeted words of comedian Bill Maher, “just ask ‘what wld Israel do?’ and do that.” After all, the thinking goes, few countries’ planes are bigger targets for Islamic terrorists; and yet few countries’ planes are safer to fly.
David Harris, the American Jewish Committee President, explains how Israel does it. Airports in Israel contain uniformed security with machine guns and plainclothes visual screeners; every passenger is interviewed extensively; and every El Al flight contains an air marshal.
On his blog, Tablet Magazine contributing editor Jeffrey Goldberg—who has disparaged U.S. airport security before—predicts that the United States will never adopt the full extent of the intense Israeli security procedure:
Israel’s one national airport, Ben-Gurion, has a total passenger capacity of 10 million annually; Baltimore-Washington International, by contrast, processes more than 20 million a year … cow-like though we are, Americans are not going to stand for the invasive questioning that is the most crucial component of the Israeli system.
What Israel Can Teach The World About Airport Security [Huffington Post]
Related: The Things He Carried [The Atlantic]
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.