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my trip to Jerusalem last week March 2013

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los angeles, CA
posts: 68
reviews: 21
my trip to Jerusalem last week March 2013

hello everyone !

i was only in israel for a few days but i still enjoyed my trip to jerusalem last week , i figured a few days in israel is better than staying here at home watching television

i got to lax early because i knew el al interviews all passengers prior to boarding , oh my what a process it was , i kept getting question after question , i will discuss this later in more detail

after taking off from lax the el al flight got to ben gurion airport on monday afternoon , after i got through passport control i collected my luggage and found the taxi stand outside , and i wrote down the name and address of the jerusalem inn, but the funny thing is the driver could not find the hotel , so he drove to a taxi stand and he had his friend drive me to my hotel because he said he knew where the hotel was located, but guess what , he could not find it either LOL , luckily for me before i left i had seen images of the street and front pictures of the hotel , so i already had an idea of that it looked like , so when we passed near horkanos street and i told him "this is it" and finally i got to my hotel

before i left i booked guided tours with bein harim and while i was in jerusalem i joined a guided tour with sandemans , and both companies met and exceeded my expectations , i know there were some complaints about bein harim tours , but i guess it really depends who you get as your tour guide , haya and eyal were great , and the tour guide from sandemans (allan) was fantastic , the holy city 4hour walking tour was so much fun

i did not have time to visit every location on my list but i did manage to see the four quarters in the old city , bethlehem , nazareth , sea of galilee , caesarea , acre , and jericho

now back to lax check in !

one of the memories that will stay with me forever was my experience with el al security at lax , ohhh my !!!

i remember i got to lax early in the morning because i already knew el al interviews passengers prior to check in, so i was a bit nervous in line waiting my turn , and i noticed the process was not taking that long because the people in front of me were only asked a few questions , so i thought to myself this will not be that bad , i was wrong !

i dont know why but i assumed if i got a female to interview me she would go easier on me than a male , but that was not the case , when it was my turn for the interview a young woman about half my size started asking me questions , and the questions just kept coming , then she kept asking me about my trip to istanbul , (i have traveled to rome , istanbul , athens) but not once did she ask me about rome or athens, all she was interested in was istanbul , i was thinking to myself what does istanbul have to do with my trip to jerusalem , she then pulled me to the side and told me to wait

so here is a young woman who is very thin and much shorter than I am , and yet she made me feel very nervous , then one of her coworkers came to meet me and he started to ask me similar questions , while he was asking me similar questions she was standing there next to us and looking straight at me the whole time , then I was told to wait and a different person came and he started asking me similar questions , at this point my excitement about traveling was gone, i was feeling really down because while people were being allowed to check in, I was still just standing there feeling like I was some sort of criminal , finally he asked me are you excited about going to Israel and I tried my best to smile and said yes I am , the young woman who started the interview process told me I would have to give up my carryon bag and I would get it back when it was time to board the airplane , however this process was not over for me

at the gate when people were about to board I heard an annoucement on the loudspeaker and I was to report to the boarding gate , I thought it was so I could get my carryon bag back , i was told to have a seat , then one of the El Al employees started rubbing some sort of liquid on both of my shoes , then I was given my carryon bag and finally allowed to board the airplane

since i was a solo traveler , was that the main reason i got many questions ? or is it because i am a man ? or is it because i was nervous during the whole process ? or maybe its a little bit of each

it was a tough process but i recommend a visit to israel if you can go , i know reading about my experience with el al security might make some of you discouraged about traveling , but i still say you should go , you just gotta hang in there during the whole process , believe me i was starting to get frustrated and angry , but i was able to calm myself by thinking about how much fun i will have in israel

just do your best to maintain your composure , remain calm , and answer all questions honestly

dont be afraid of the interview , go to israel !

i would love to go back to israel someday for sure and visit some of the places i did not have time to see :-)

thank you all for reading about my trip to israel

Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 25,695
reviews: 18
1. Re: my trip to Jerusalem last week March 2013

Thanks for the report and thanks for the good attitude.

No one knows exactly why you were questioned multiple times. I can offer the following maybes

a. your attitude toward the women questioning you showed and they wanted to make sure you were okay. The attitude shows here in your use of words while describing her and your emphasis on how much smaller she was than you.

b. She was watching while the second guy questioned for your non-verbal reactions--we can not control them.

c. The "liquid" they put on your shoes was probably something to check for explosive residue

Again, something in your answers, your words combined with your nervousness made THEM nervous. As uncomfortable as it may have been, you made your flight and had a great time! BTW you may have felt people were looking at you--but bottom line, no one really cares!

Destination Expert
for Tel Aviv
posts: 6,528
reviews: 11
2. Re: my trip to Jerusalem last week March 2013

<< thank you all for reading about my trip to israel >>

It would be nice if you actually wrote something about your trip .....

Destination Expert
for Jerusalem, Israel
posts: 1,420
reviews: 41
3. Re: my trip to Jerusalem last week March 2013

It's tempting to suggest that security were suspicious of you because of your strange refusal to use capital letters.

However, rdglady's suggestions are probably more or less right. The real truth is that none of us know for sure why some people are questioned more than others.

It's great that you didn't let it make you angry or spoil your visit, and I'm glad you had a good time here.

Birmingham, United...
posts: 245
reviews: 3
4. Re: my trip to Jerusalem last week March 2013

>>>>>It's tempting to suggest that security were suspicious of you because of your strange refusal to use capital letters.<<<<<< Lool :D

Thank you very much victory111 for touching base after your trip. It was a very interesting read and I am glad you had a wonderful time.

As has been reiterated the size of a person is irrelevant. We should respect show respect and be calm as you have shown and over came being in a situation which has taken a little longer for you but these are the the steps that have to be taken for Israel's security.

Would love to read some more about your trip and experience visiting Israel too.

los angeles, CA
posts: 68
reviews: 21
5. Re: my trip to Jerusalem last week March 2013

yes i was thinking maybe if i had been traveling with a group of some kind the interview procedure would have gone quicker

and one question that made me freeze because i didnt know how to answer it was why i visited turkey first , then israel , i was quickly trying to come up with an answer , and my response must have sounded strange , it probably confused them :-)

on their questions focusing on turkey

i was thinking maybe that has something to do with the tense relations that currently exists between both countries , and since i traveled alone there , they might have assumed i could potentially be some sort of troublemaker , but i just answered all questions honestly , dont lie or they will probably ask you even more questions

Birmingham, United...
posts: 245
reviews: 3
6. Re: my trip to Jerusalem last week March 2013

I've been Istanbul too with my Godfather.

He was due to accompany me on this visit, it has been a dream of his but ill health has forced him to cancel his plans.

I agree, honesty is the best policy.

Belfast, United...
posts: 642
reviews: 39
7. Re: my trip to Jerusalem last week March 2013

victory, I would love to hear more about your trip, in particular the Sandeman's Holy Land Tour. I am doing this in May and would love to hear about where you actually went on the tour. I have already done their free tour but this time I want more detail and would like to know if this tour delivers.

Sorry about your experience with El Al but at least you got to Israel safely.

Los Angeles...
posts: 253
reviews: 13
8. Re: my trip to Jerusalem last week March 2013

That’s a fascinating story, and your positive attitude is commendable. I’ll be making the same journey on El Al in May – LAX to Tel Aviv – and I also visited Istanbul a couple years ago. Hopefully I can benefit from your experience (and rgdlady’s thoughts), and be prepared to go through the process calmly, honestly and positively.

May I ask how early did you arrive at LAX prior to your flight?

It would be great to hear more about your experiences after you arrived in Israel.

posts: 1,027
reviews: 1
9. Re: my trip to Jerusalem last week March 2013

Don't read too much into it why they questioned you more than others, your nervousness was probaby showing. I've travelled a few times to Israel, sometimes questioned a bit, sometimes not. But personally I feel safer that they do have high security -- its for our safety as well as theirs. As for Turkey, they still have diplomatic relations and a couple of my ISraeli friends travelled to Turkey for holidays. Not sure what the situation is righg now.

Glad you enjoyd the trip. Which sites did you see?

Ghent, Belgium
posts: 41
reviews: 3
10. Re: my trip to Jerusalem last week March 2013

Just out of curiosity; did you get the entry stamp?