Four nights in Tel Aviv, Israel

As some of you know, last week I spent a few days in Tel Aviv, Israel.  It wasn’t my typical trip – vacation or technical conference.  I was there for business.  And I wasn’t there alone, but with a colleague of mine.  That trip was the first of a kind for me.

One of the things that was very different is how prepared I was.  Usually, I try to read and learn as much as I can about the place I am about to visit.  I also plan a bit on where I want to go and what I want to see.  But this time, I didn’t know that I’m going until the last minute.  And I didn’t know how much time I’ll have for sightseeing.  And I was busy.  So I read absolutely nothing. Zip. Nada.  And maybe that was for the better – I could see around me with a fresh eye.

Continue reading “Four nights in Tel Aviv, Israel” »

On airport security Israelification

I came across an excellent article which compares ways airport security is handled in Israel as opposed to USA and Canada.  Instead of being a yet another whine and complain about how bad things are there and how good they are over there, it does in fact illustrate the difference in approaches, as well as some of the things that people who are responsible for protecting the public have to think about.  Here is a quote to get you started:

“I once put this question to Jacques Duchesneau (the former head of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority): say there is a bag with play-doh in it and two pens stuck in the play-doh. That is ‘Bombs 101′ to a screener. I asked Ducheneau, ‘What would you do?’ And he said, ‘Evacuate the terminal.’ And I said, ‘Oh. My. God.’

“Take Pearson. Do you know how many people are in the terminal at all times? Many thousands. Let’s say I’m (doing an evacuation) without panic — which will never happen. But let’s say this is the case. How long will it take? Nobody thought about it. I said, ‘Two days.'”

Another part that I sympathized a lot with was this:

“Do you know why Israelis are so calm? We have brutal terror attacks on our civilians and still, life in Israel is pretty good. The reason is that people trust their defence forces, their police, their response teams and the security agencies. They know they’re doing a good job. You can’t say the same thing about Americans and Canadians. They don’t trust anybody,” Sela said. “But they say, ‘So far, so good’. Then if something happens, all hell breaks loose and you’ve spent eight hours in an airport. Which is ridiculous. Not justifiable

So true! I’ve been thinking exactly the same a few times while watching fear-infested news coverages on mostly American TV (Europeans and Russians have it too, but to a lesser degree).  Nobody can guarantee a 100% protection.  A continuous effort should be made to ensure the best possible protection.  Once everyone knows and trusts that everything that could have been done was done, they will calm down and relax.  And even if something bad happens, people won’t overreact as they would know better.