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The definition of the word mull.
Mullings by Rich Galen
A Political Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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    Be Careful What You Wish For
    Friday, October 5, 2001

                                    Click here for an Easy Print Version

    • Yesterday morning, at shortly after 7:00 am, I went out on the back deck and watched as US Airways flight 6850, the shuttle to LaGuardia Airport in New York City, passed overhead.

    • Reagan National was open and all was well.

    • Tomorrow, I will be flying from Reagan National to Atlanta for a speech on Saturday night. My flight is scheduled to leave at 11:05 am. After watching TV all day regarding the new security measures, I believe I will get to the airport at about five o'clock. Tonight. And sleep over.

    • Expect a full Mullings Travelogue on the trip to Atlanta and back for Monday.

    • America is very focused on this business of increased airport security. We have heard time after time after time that US airlines should be more like El Al.

    • Can we see the hands of the number of people who have flown in and out of Tel Aviv? I started a business in Israel, so I know from getting through Ben Gurion Airport.

    • Flying TO Israel, I went through the normal checks for passport and tickets at the ticket counter and then was directed to the regular screening area.

    • At many airports there was a separate boarding lounge for El Al flights - this might also be true for other airlines going to Tel Aviv, but I don't think I flew any other airline.

    • At the boarding lounge I went through another x-ray and magnetometer screen at which I had to show my passport and boarding pass again.

    • When the flight was called, I was asked to show my boarding pass and passport for a third time before being allowed on the plane.

    • I have been on El Al flights which, when everyone who was booked to be on the plane was seated, just went ahead and pushed back from the gate. Even if it was 30 minutes early.

    • One time I had a change of plans and needed to fly directly from London to Tel Aviv instead of going through Cairo first.

    • El Al personnel in the boarding lounge asked me why I was going and whom I would be seeing. I told them. Did I have anything in writing which would indicate I had been invited to visit? I did not.

    • Did I have a phone number and the name of an individual with whom I would be meeting? I did.

    • One person stayed with me, the other left; came back seven or eight minutes later, and I was allowed to board the plane. When I got to Israel I asked and, indeed, they had called from London to confirm what I had said.

    • A nice Catchy Caption, and an explanation of all these foreign words on the Secret Decoder Ring page.

    • LEAVING Tel Aviv is no walk in the Negev, either. When people say you have to get to the airport two-and-a-half to three hours early, they are not just whistling Hava Nagila.

    • Back in those days, some Middle Eastern countries would not honor a passport which had an Israeli entry stamp. Israeli immigration would, if you requested it, give you piece of paper with the stamp on it, which was collected on the way out. That being the case, my passport showed many trips in and out of Arabic nations, but no evidence of having been in Israel.

    • In the departure lounge, which is the size of a large warehouse, there are long lines of passengers which lead to rows and rows of tables on which everyone must put their luggage. A young person will examine the contents - sock by sock - and ask a series of questions which, in America, would be considered unacceptably intrusive.
      -- I was asked:
      -- Was this my first trip to Israel;
      -- How long I had been in Israel;
      -- With whom I had met;
      -- The purpose of the meetings;
      -- What we discussed at those meetings;
      -- Who was in the meetings;
      -- If I had any documents to indicate such meetings had taken place;
      -- At what hotel I had stayed;
      -- Did I have the receipt;
      -- At what restaurants I had eaten;
      -- Had I visited any Israelis in their homes;
      -- Why I spent so much time in Arabic countries;
      -- Whether I would be coming back to Israel;
      -- If so, when?
    • If you show any sign of irritation, during this process, you might as well be prepared to wait for matzo to rise.

    • The inspector will walk away with your passport and tickets and come back with a more senior person - about 20 minutes later. That person will go through your luggage in a verrrry leisurely manner, and lead you back through the whole routine starting from: Is this your first trip to Israel?

    • I know this because because someone told me.

    • One time a trainee, under the watchful eye of an instructor, was doing the examination. She got confused in the process and I, being a seasoned traveler to Israel, helped her out by telling her the question she was supposed to ask next. We all had a good laugh.

    • Then the instructor verrrry slowly re-opened my suitcase and asked: Is this your first trip to Israel?

      -- END --
      Copyright © 2001 Richard A. Galen


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