18:35 Mar. 29, 2016
European countries are consulting Israeli security experts for advice after the deadly attacks on the main airport and the subway system in Brussels, according to a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry.
"There is an increased interest in Europe in Israeli know-how and technology," said Emmanuel Nahshon.
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Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport is among the most secure in the world. About 16 million passengers travel through the Tel Aviv airport a year, according to Airports Authority Spokesman Ofer Lefler.
A string of hijackings and a shooting at the airport in the 1970s prompted Israel to undertake stringent measures based on layers of protection, meaning each passenger must pass through multiple levels of scrutiny before he or she even reaches the check-in hall.
The perimeter of Ben-Gurion Airport is secured with radar, security forces, cameras and automatic license-plate scanners that check every vehicle entering the area. Security officers in uniform and undercover monitor the doorways to the terminal. Cameras, hidden and in plain sight, provide extra surveillance. And inside, airport staff ask travelers exhaustive questions about their itineraries, their personal backgrounds, and their luggage.
Pini Schiff, former director of security at Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport, said the Brussels attacks showed serious gaps in Belgian security and intelligence. Had the three assailants approached the Tel Aviv airport, "they would be stopped where the vehicles are entering Ben-Gurion area. And this is 11 kilometers before the terminal building."
In the wake of the Brussels attacks that killed at least 31 people, airports in Europe and the United States tightened their security. Israel did not have to tighten its airport security, Lefler said. Flights from Europe to Tel Aviv were briefly suspended on March 22 and then quickly reinstated.
Israel's airport -- named after the nation's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion -- is a lifeline for a nation with two hostile neighbors, Syria and Lebanon, and a cold peace with Egypt and Jordan. Most Israelis travel further afield, to Europe, North America, and other countries. Full story