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Jul 19, 2006

My mother, the terrorist

I brought my mother to the airport last night to head back home. Her vacation with us had come to a conclusion and it was time for her to return home. We left early because she was worried there would be a) extra security checks that might take a long time and slow things down and b) a lot of people trying to get flights out because of the security situation in the country.

My mother was right about a, but wrong about b. There were no lines of people trying to fight their way onto an overbooked flight. Granted we got there very early, but other flights were leaving and we did not see any mass of people trying to escape Israel because of Katyushas falling in the North. That was very heartening.

On concern #a she was right, I think, unless they thought she was a terrorist. They put her suitcases on the x-ray machine and decided they had to open them up. What they saw that made them concerned or suspicious I have no idea.

Digression: The machine that x-rays is pretty cool. It displays on image of the contents of the suitcase on the computer screen and the technician is able to rotate the suitcase (on the screen) and see from different angles so he can get a better idea of what he is looking at.

Back to story: They send us over to the station where they open up suitcases and there were about 10 people in the various lines waiting to be checked. They called us over right away (I do not know why we did not have to wait in line like everyone else. Maybe they were very suspicious of something and wanted to check it out right away) and the handler asked some questions. They asked a number of times if the suitcase had ever been lent out to someone else.

Finally they opened up the suitcase and rooted around looking for something specific, despite the fact that he kept saying he was “stam” looking and not for something specific. It was very unusual. Eventually he found what he was looking for and it turned out to be a Hamsa. I do not know what it looked like in the x-ray machine that made them so suspicious, but they were pretty amused when they finally found it and cleared things up.

I should add I was very impressed the whole time. The handlers were polite, calm and friendly through the whole process.

It turns out my mother is not a terrorist.


  1. something like that happened to me once, but in JFK. my bags were x-rayed as usual, but when they didn't come out right away, i knew they saw something -- i was right, they yanked one bag off the conveyer belt and asked me to open it. i had a metal box filled with children's magnets on top, which they asked me about but that wasn't what set them off... what they found was a bag of children's soaps with a toy buried inside that set off flags. why? i found out later that since the soaps were glycerine, and supposedly that could be an ingredient in explosives, my soaps immediately caused an alert. so if you ever travel with glycerine soaps, pack them on top where you coud reach them easily!

  2. I will keep it in mind, thanks.

    Here too, they asked about a few things but dismissed those items when they heard the answers. They were looking for something specific and kept going until they found it!

  3. whew whatta relief-your mothers not a terrorist.
    (what does she think about your fears being allayed only through Ben Gurion personnel?)

  4. that's a funny qiestion. lol!!

    I think she knows what we (all her kids) think of her!!

    We all love you Ma (whether you are a terrorist or not!)!!

  5. lol... i suppose it pays to be safe rathe than sorry!

    but the fact that there were not long lines of people trying to leave is such a contrast to what I see on the news here about foreigners desperate to get out of Lebanon. The Jewish people in Israel stay to support their land, their nation while across the border people like Lebeanese Australians can't get home soon enough.

  6. Sarah - that is a good point..Thanks

  7. You never know.
    One of my sons traveled abroad and then cross-country, no problem. Then suddenly from AZ to NY they said he had something suspicious and found a tool which had been in his wallet about 4 years from when pre-army he did "rescue" volunteering and had totally forgotten about it.

  8. you never know. they need to do the job diligently and I think they are.
    It is just funny sometimes what they find that raised their suspicions...

  9. I guess (once again) it depends on how you define terrorist.


    Besides, ma is not tech savvy enough to read your blog...although she is working on it. Her new handle is sheitelmama.

  10. Ha happy your mom came to visit, good title!

  11. Dan - I like the name sheitelmama. Now you just have to show her a few times how to log in... and post comments..

    socialw - thanks

  12. Hope your mom made it back home.

    Ah, if only I could examine myself with an X-Ray machine and turn over each midah and view it from a different angle....

  13. Neil - you are doing a great job with your Rav Yisrael series. Not only are you doing it for yourself, but you are helping other bloggers do the same...

  14. when i went to israel for my first year, i had the same problem with security.
    mom had packed a suitcase entirely for rafi and i had no idea what was inside, so the elal security kept asking me do you know everything thats in here, did u pack it yourself.....

    the secruity lady pulls out a huge bag of diapers and says, well, explain this!!!

    i didnt know what to say, i looked at her and said,"it's a comfort thing."

    she repacked my suitcase, apologosed for the inconvenience and sent me on my way.

  15. that's hilarious. I remember when you told me that story...

  16. (LOL)

    rafi, quite a family you got yourself there, eh?

  17. sabra -you can't even imagine!!

  18. 'Tis the season for self relection...although I'll probably look a back my blog during Elul and think, "How guy'vadik!"

  19. Nice colors. Keep up the good work. thnx!


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