Photo: Gil Nehoshtan
Committee will look into security inspections
Photo: Gil Nehoshtan

Ease security inspections of Arabs at airports, Olmert orders

Prime minister asks transportation minister to look into ways to improve treatment of Israeli Arabs at airport and border terminals, in light of repeated complaints of harassment due to 'racial profiling'

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wants Israel to ease the security inspections Israeli Arabs are forced to undergo at the Ben Gurion International Airport and other border terminals across the country.


In a letter to Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, Olmert asked that the issue be examined in light of repeated incidents of harassment of Arab passengers, and following a report on the matter filed by the Arab Association for Human Rights and the Center against Racism.


"We must balance between the need to inspect the passengers who go through the various border crossings and the desire to allow every passenger to pass through the terminal quickly and with dignity," Olmert wrote.


In response to the letter, Mofaz ordered the director-general of the Israel Airports Authority (IAI), Gabby Ophir, to form a committee that will look into ways to ease the inspections. The minister also came up with a few suggestions for improvement, including increasing the number of Druze security guards at the terminals.


Racial profiling

Some two months ago, the Arab Association for Human Rights and the Center against Racism published a report which focused on the "racial profiling against Arab passengers by Israeli airports and airlines."


The organizations gathered numerous complaints filed by Israeli Arabs regarding the discriminatory treatment they were subjected to by security personnel at Ben Gurion airport and other terminals.


The IAI said in response: "The Israel Airports Authority treats all its passengers with respect and rejects any claim regarding inappropriate or discriminatory treatment during Ben Gurion Airport security inspections."


"Security inspections are carried out in accordance with instructions received from state officials and under their supervision and are aimed at safeguarding the lives of some 10 million passengers each year," the statement said.


"The Authority is making countless efforts to improve the service to passengers, and particularly to Arab passengers," it concluded.


פרסום ראשון: 02.23.07, 10:58
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