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I cannot believe people bring up Israeli airport security as an example of a system the U.S. should model. The security agents are neither intelligent, nor well trained, nor polite. The entire system is based on racism and I would take TSA security over the Israeli model any day. People were complaining here about a pat down search in public by a TSA agent equaling sexual harassment. I was actually taken to a public bathroom by an El Al agent and strip searched, purely because my last name "sounds Turkish".

From my anecdotal experience, El Al has security personnel that appears trained to a naked eye, but in reality is extremely ineffective, flawed, and unethical. I had the misfortune to go through El Al security four times. These all occurred in a span of two weeks, roughly in the same circumstances (I had to fly into Israel, fly out, fly back in, and fly back out). I can tell you that the outcome of their screening is heavily inconsistent and highly dependent on the prejudices of the particular agent doing the interview, and not necessarily on advanced training procedures.

I had the same answers for their questions every time. Two of the times the agents were Israeli jews who immigrated from Russia. Since we share a common background, both let me pass after very few questions because my trip details seemed perfectly reasonable to them. The other two times, I was interviewed by jews of clearly middle-eastern descent - both had no understanding of my cultural background, and both thought my trip details were extremely suspicious, subjecting me to a detailed search. So the outcome of the interviews was effectively random, which means they might as well perform random searches.

The interviews were highly unethical, inappropriate, and degrading. Even more importantly, they were completely ineffective, resulting in a random outcome highly dependent on each agent's personal prejudices. I don't know what good security looks like, but I can tell you that this most certainly isn't it.

It may have been uncomfortable and inconvenient for you, but that doesn't mean it wasn't effective. For a few (perhaps inaccurate) reasons, you were flagged as a greater-than-average risk. You were searched thoroughly and found to be safe, and you were then allowed to fly. That sounds pretty sensible to me and makes a lot more sense than the US policy.

"...but in reality is extremely ineffective, flawed,..."

Well, the data disagrees with you.

You are just one data point.

That's only true in this very limited set here. Add me as a second one:

I'm white, male, as uninteresting as it can get (heh..). A little geeky perhaps, but I'm > 30 and every now and then have to prove that I'm > 18 for purchases or contracts. You know - the "Ohhh, you are really an adolescent?" type of guy. I shave every ~2 weeks and you probably cannot tell if I'm one week into the routine if we meet.

Still: Every single trip to IL ended with me being on the list of the suspicious people.

* I only did business trips and had a letter of the company that expected me (already crap on its own, but.. different thing)

* I travelled there several times and I'm sure they are good enough to correlate travelers from our german branch to our headquarter as being "probably genuine"

So.. A guy, plain as can be, fitting none of the discussed racial profiles (and no, I'm not shitting my pants during interviews either, so don't start the "you behaved erratic" thing), being targeted everytime: Another datapoint for the problems of the system.

I don't know _why_ I was targeted. I can only confirm that for me, every time I fly to Israel, these guys do waste time and money on me (and annoy me in the process, but let's ignore that for now), producing no result. Efficient? Not for me..

That security system is obviously designed with an acceptance of quite a few false positives. (Are you a political extremist?)

Maybe harassing you is white noise? (Pun mostly intended.) That is, to throw off attempts to analyze the security?

>>I don't know what good security looks like, but I can tell you that this most certainly isn't it.

I don't know much about airport security either.

What I do know is that there exists lots of well financed organizations that want to blow up Israeli airports and airplanes -- with a bad track record during the last few decades.

So something is done right, which might be kept a secret. If not the interviews, what?

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