We were delivered to the El Al check-in counter at Ben Gurion Airport with nearly 4 hours to spare, but the interrogations, bag searching, x-raying and being told to wait for no apparent reason meant there was little time to take advantage of the duty-free shops air-side. It was trying, but we did as we had been instructed.
I was at the head of our queue, and when asked if I had been given anything by anyone here in Israel I felt I had to answer truthfully that our local tour company operator, Naftali Steg, had given me (and all of us) a shoulder bag on our arrival.
“What was in it?” I was asked.
My reply, that it contained a welcome letter, a map and a cap, didn’t placate my interrogator who insisted I open my suitcase then and there and show her the bag in question. So there I was, on the floor, in the middle of the El Al terminal, with my suitcase wide open, underwear on display to all and sundry, fishing out a harmless souvenir bag I had buried right at the bottom (Murphy’s Law). Not happy, Jan – but I just did what I was told…. At least it meant that none of our other group members needed to show theirs.
You can probably detect a slight (!) note of irritation here, and this is principally because, although I was happy to go through the extraordinarily rigorous security procedures if it meant a safer flight, when we came to the final screening we found that there was no limit at all on liquids, gases and aerosols carried on!