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Arriving by aircraft you will notice a couple of security guards waiting when you go up the escalators from your flight – if you act suspicious they will not hesitate to stop you. But if you dress nicely, seem a part of another group or a family they are less likely to bother you.
If you are stopped for questioning, having the telephone number of friends or colleagues in Israel who can vouch for you always helps the process, and if traveling as part of a group, security will usually question you separately before cross-checking your accounts.
Be aware that passengers who have recently visited Arabic countries (except Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania and Qatar) may be subject to further questioning.
Bag inspection, both by machine and hand, is routine and should be expected, in addition to repeated interviews about what you intend to do while traveling in Israel.
Ben Gurion International Airport, the country's largest in Tel Aviv, is also one of the world's most secure airports.
All cars, taxis, buses and trucks go through a preliminary security checkpoint before entering the airport compound.
Armed guards spot-check the vehicles by looking into cars, taxis and buses, exchanging a few words with the driver and passengers.
Armed security personnel stationed at the terminal entrances keep a close watch on those who enter the buildings.
If someone arouses their suspicion or looks nervous, they may strike up a conversation to further assess the person's intent.
Plainclothes armed personnel patrol the area outside the building, and hidden surveillance cameras operate at all times.
Security checks may not stop at your luggage. Since mid-2012, immigration and security officials have asked certain inbound visitors to open their email accounts or Facebook pages to be inspected. Several Palestinian-Americans and known Palestinian sympathizers have been subjected to this new type of search, and have been refused entry to Israel.
Read the details of their cases in this Boston.com report.
According to the report, Israeli officials admit they use ethnic profiling, calling it a 'necessary evil' to maintain security.
This means intending visitors of Arab or Indian descent, or those known to have publicly supported the Palestinian cause will be specifically targeted for this type of interrogation.
If you have a history of publicly supporting the Palestinian cause, or have publicly advocated sanctions against Israel, then the Israeli authorities will probably know about it and you may very likely be interrogated in this way.
If you have not publicly supported the Palestinian cause and are genuinely visiting Israel and the West Bank for a vacation, BUT are Islamic, of Arab or Indian descent, or have an Arabic or Indian name, you still may be asked to open your email and social media accounts.
It doesn't matter that you are not carrying a computer with you, the security agent will ask you to log-in on one of theirs.
You may be asked if you feel more Arab than American (or British or whatever nationality you are). Think carefully about your answer.
It doesn't sound fair or 'right', but for the time being it's a reality.
When leaving the country, you must arrive at the terminal at least three hours before your flight, as Israeli security procedures can be time-consuming.
Departing passengers are personally questioned by security agents even before arriving at the check-in desk.
This interview can last as little as a minute, or as long as an hour if a passenger is selected for additional screening.
Luggage and body searches may be conducted.
After the search, bags are placed through an X-ray machine before passengers proceed to the check-in counters.
Occasionally, if security has assessed a person as a low risk, they will pass them straight through to the check-in desks, bypassing the main x-ray machines.
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