The Israeli profiling approach trains and encourages security personnel to rely on their impressions and gut reactions in processing passengers, while allowing for the fact that this gut reaction would often be triggered by the ethnicity of the suspect, meaning they are Arab.
The Ben Gurion International Airport security watch begins before passengers reach the departures area. Passengers encounter the first security checkpoint in their car, at the airport’s entrance, where security personnel check passengers and the people who accompany them. They are authorized to pull cars aside and conduct searches. At the departures area, spotters seek out suspicious passengers and have the authority to check them on the spot. Security personnel have access to passenger lists, which they cross check with regularly updated lists of suspects under surveillance, and send alerts regarding passengers who must undergo a detailed security check.
Israeli security checks do not stop at a passenger’s luggage or even their person — agents are authorized to instruct passengers to open their email accounts or Facebook pages for an inspection. More than a few Arab passengers looking to enter Israel have been rejected based on their online activity.
In European and American airports, by comparison, the security check begins only after passengers have completed their check-in, and line up with their carry-on luggage to be processed by security personnel. This means that the entire area before the check-in counters is fair play — as was the case in Brussels — and the area past the counters, where duty-free shops, bars, restaurants and newsstands are located, is equally exposed and vulnerable.
Pini Shif, the former head of security for the Israel Airports Authority, said that “in terms of airport security, the Europeans are 40 years behind Israel.”By the time they catch up--if they ever do--it'll be too late.