I got back from Israel today. Well, I was supposed to get back yesterday, but we missed our connection in Toronto, so we had to catch the first flight out this morning. Everyone else was thrilled that we got free rooms at the Hilton. I wasn’t. I won’t discuss the trip right now. Eventually I will end up with a lot of photographs, and then perhaps it will make sense to talk about the trip. Right now I will discuss an issue of greater concern to me.
We missed our connection in Toronto because a family was an hour or so late to the plane in Tel Aviv. At first I thought that it was extremely rude of that family to be so late for the flight. Only after we deplaned did I learn what actually happened.
The family was Palestinian. It was a large family, consisting of perhaps seven people altogether. In the Toronto airport, I overheard a member of the family talking about what happened to her family. Apparently, they arrived four hours early to Ben Gurion airport. Since they were Palestinian, they were “racially profiled,” if I can be as politically correct as possible. They were forced to go through security checks for at least two hours before they were allowed on the plane. She also said that she has travelled on this flight (or an analogous one) every year for fifteen years, and the same thing has happened every time.
Excuse me if I think that no one should have to put up with that sort of nonsense.
In contrast, we arrived something like three hours early, went through VAT (which took a long time), chose the slowest lines at every point, and arrived at the gate with an hour to spare.
I’m all for security, but let’s be reasonable! Two hour searches? That’s ridiculous! Does this happen to every Palestinian trying to travel out of Ben Gurion airport? Probably. Is it supposed to be surprising that a very small number of Palestinians blow themselves up to try to make a point? From what I can see, the set of rational people is a lot like the set of rational numbers. Almost all numbers are irrational. It seems that almost all people are also.
What annoys me even more is that my parents think that it is reasonable for these people to be put through incredibly extensive security checks. My mother, in her most unsympathetic tone, said that they are used to it. USED TO IT. Well, yes, I suppose they are used to it. That’s because it happens every time. And it still isn’t fair. My parents are so incredibly racist. My mother takes one look at an Arab and thinks “suicide bomber.” How did I end up living with these completely irrational racists? I asked my parents to think about how they would feel if they had to go through these long security checks every flight. How would they feel if everyone hated them because they were delaying a flight. Even if they aren’t to blame. Of course, they couldn’t come up with an appropriate answer. No one could because there is no appropriate answer.
Why do I live in this world? Should I write to Air Canada to complain? I don’t even know if they were to blame. To my local newspaper? To Ben Gurion Airport? I suppose it’s time for ME to do something. But what? And who is going to listen to some college student who thinks, like everyone else in the world, that he is a rare rational being?
At least I was very pleased to see the woman in the adjacent line at Canadian customs complaining vehemently about the situation. Perhaps there are a couple rational people around.