After more than a year of activism by the NIF family of organizations, the Israel Airport Authority (IAA) announced that new and more efficient security procedures that respect civil liberties will take effect next year. The announcement came several days before the Supreme Court is due to discuss a petition by NIF's flagship grantee Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). The petition demands an end to current security procedures based on racial profiling on the grounds that they are unfairly discriminatory against Israeli Arabs.
The new airport security system will revolve around scanning technology. Passengers will hand in baggage upon arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport and proceed to passport control without the invasive personal questioning and searches that currently typify the exit experience.
Over the past year, the NIF family has conducted a campaign to end the harassment of passengers at Israel’s main airport. Travelers, Israel’s Arab minority and other non-Jewish passengers in particular, are often humiliated by having the contents of their suitcases removed in public and are often asked embarrassing personal questions about their contents. NIF and Machsom Watch ran a successful media campaign, which put the IAA on the defensive, by offering to monitor airport security checks and train staff in more sensitive techniques.
"This will be a new world - a real revolution," said IAA Director General Kobi Mor. "The new systems will provide a higher level of security without the need for manual searches and will thus prevent any accusations of discrimination."