I have painful memories related to my arrivals/departures to Israel. First time in leaving that country, I was asked detailed information about my two Moroccan visas: ‘Why was I there?’ ‘Why two years in a row (it isn’t such a beautiful country, after all :D)?’, ‘Who was I with?’, ‘Where did I stay?’, ‘Whom did I meet?’… For the second time, as I was already prepared for the Moroccan story, they needed to know what did I do in Israel and why (and with whom, obviously).
I was one of the foreign tourists visiting Israel who got the luggage searched in great detail, with all the electronic/electric thinks carefully removed from the trolley and verified for gun residues (I wish I were kidding about this, but it is not the case!). They stuck some numbers then to my passport which apparently marked me as dangerous (I assume), as the second set of officials applied the same thorough search to my hand luggage.
The search – severe (and extremely rude!) round of questioning plus removing of the objects from the suitcase – takes place before you get to check it. When entering the airport, there are already huge lines of people waiting to be proven innocent of any terrorist activities against the state of Israel. A long, painful and out of the ordinary process. But, well…
If the Holy Land is safer, then have it their way.
Nothing, though, would have prepared me for what happened when I left the country for the third time. Because now, to the Moroccan questioning I answered with ‘There were nine more people except for myself in that group; I have issues remembering all their names…’ It seemed a better strategy for the moment, but it wasn’t. When arriving to the luggage scanner, a strong anomaly showed up: three carton boxes, perfectly aligned inside my trolley.
I stuck my hands deep into my pockets, put a wide smile on my face and watched the girl meticulously opening the boxes – one by one. She extracted all my sandals, touched their soles with her plastic stick and put the resulting pad into the machinery. I know she found it hard to believe, but it turned out that not even one of my 10 pairs of sandals was involved in any wrong-doings.
Once she has done her magic tricks, the girl told me I could pack. I asked why they searched my shoe boxes stuffed with sandals (I have bought new shoes in Israel, Gazith, hence I was caring the original boxes), what was wrong with them. She didn’t say, but we took the liberty to imagine that the scanner thought it was abnormal for a woman to carry so many pairs of shoes. And this triggered the panic button which made them ensure my sandals were just what they seemed to be.