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Tel Aviv - Israeli Cancer Patients Humiliated at Airport

Published on: August 23, 2010 09:09 AM
By:  Ynet
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Tel Aviv - The humiliating treatment experienced by cancer patients at Ben-Gurion International Airport darkened a trip that was supposed to help them forget their suffering for a while.
The story began when 36 young people from the north of Israel went on a trip to Orlando, United States, with the aid of the Lev organization which supports children suffering from cancer. They were accompanied by Dr. Monique Peretz-Nahum from the oncology department of the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. Reporter Roi Katz also joined the group to make a documentary film about the trip.
About three weeks ago, when they arrived at the airport, they had to undergo security checks just like all other passengers. Peretz-Nahum told the security staff that three of the group had metal implants which were liable to set off the metal detectors.
The three in question, aged 13, 15 and 18, went through the detector, which emitted the warning sound.
“They told us they couldn’t go through, and the head of security was called,” Peretz-Nahum said. “She came half an hour later, and meanwhile the rest of the group waited on the other side.”
At that point a series of humiliations awaited the three young people. Firstly, Peretz-Nahum recounted, they were told to show their surgery scars in front of everyone. Despite their embarrassment, two did as they were asked and showed the security staff their shoulder and leg scars which testified to the metal implants.
The third refused, because he would have had to take off his pants in order to expose his scars. After a discussion, it was agreed that he would do so in a separate room, with the security staff but without the presence of the head of security.
“He asked me to be present, but the security staff wouldn’t allow it,” said Peretz-Nahum. When he saw he had no choice, he went into the room alone because he didn’t want to hold up the rest of his friends.
Thus, after an hour, which could otherwise have been enjoyed in duty free, the group was finally permitted to continue.
Treated with respect abroad


Katz said that in contrast to the way they were treated in Israel, the group was treated with great respect abroad, and when it became known that they were suffering from cancer, they were permitted to enter the Disney World attractions without waiting in line.
At the end of the week they returned to Israel but the humiliation was not forgotten. “I am really angry,” said the youth who was compelled to undress. “It was really humiliating.”

“It was humiliating and insensitive,” Peretz-Nahum said. “Why must they get young cancer sufferers to undress like that in front of everyone? They aren’t terrorists. They could have been more sensitive.”

“We are responsible for the security of millions of passengers each year, and fulfill our duties according to instructions of state authorities,” the Israel Airports Authority responded. “The security staff is required to treat everyone with respect, courtesy and sensitivity. In this case, because of its sensitive character, the head of security was called, and a security check was conducted in a way that respected the passengers and their privacy, with full cooperation from those being checked.”

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Read Comments (19)  —  Post Yours »


 Aug 23, 2010 at 09:16 AM Sherree Says:

The fact that they were children and sick children to boot, should have cued the staff to treat them with more sensitivity. Sorry ElAl you failed once again.


 Aug 23, 2010 at 09:24 AM power up Says:

I am shocked, I though the israelis are good at profiling and applying streetsmarts when it comes to security???!!!!


 Aug 23, 2010 at 09:33 AM Oyvey Says:

I've been a number of times in Israel, but haven't returned in the last 13 years.
It's a crazy country!


 Aug 23, 2010 at 09:42 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Sherree Says:

The fact that they were children and sick children to boot, should have cued the staff to treat them with more sensitivity. Sorry ElAl you failed once again.

Its not el al, its ben gurion sercurity


 Aug 23, 2010 at 10:21 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Oyvey Says:

I've been a number of times in Israel, but haven't returned in the last 13 years.
It's a crazy country!

Guess what ? Nobody missed you. U don't have to come the next 13 years either.


 Aug 23, 2010 at 10:29 AM Anonymous Says:

If they were arab patients we can't complain its too risky but if they were jewish... GOOD MORNING UGLY ISRAELY MENTALATY


 Aug 23, 2010 at 10:37 AM basmelech Says:

Funny, when I go to Israel, I find that the security checks are less annoying than the ones in Newark airport. I think what was done to those kids was very wrong. They were obviously not terrorists.


 Aug 23, 2010 at 10:47 AM Anonymous Says:

I am happy with the security. I'd rather have these stories and even once in a while be subject to one. Than worry on an 11 hour flight if someone is going to get up and yell ALLAH ACH..... And blow me to bits and pieces. Don't forget after 9/11 el al was the first to fly out because their security was already top notch. So guys suck it up! You can't have it both ways!


 Aug 23, 2010 at 10:47 AM tzviki Says:

Better safe than sorry.


 Aug 23, 2010 at 11:15 AM Anonymous Says:

I agree, better safe than sorry. Many suicide bombers are teenagers, so regardless of who is vouching for these children, security is absolutely correct to double check. Perhaps it should have been done with more sensitivity utilizing a private area, but it had to be done. I have metal implants in both hips which always sets off airport security alarms. I always allow extra time to go through security because I know I will be stopped and patted down. I must admit that I have never been asked to show my scars or to disrobe in anyway, but I would if requested - in a private area. My experience, however, since receiving these implants, has only been in North American (US and Canada) airports.


 Aug 23, 2010 at 11:22 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

If they were arab patients we can't complain its too risky but if they were jewish... GOOD MORNING UGLY ISRAELY MENTALATY

If they were arabs I'd understand, wouldn't you? Sorry but I do differentiate!


 Aug 23, 2010 at 11:46 AM chavi Says:

Shame on them!! Cancer patients are clearly identifiable (bald, etc.) There is absolutely no excuse for such egregious treatment of children with cancer.


 Aug 23, 2010 at 12:06 PM Anonymous Says:

I just returned from Israel with my mother, who is elderly & infirm & needed special assistance. The security staff, while thorough, couldn't have been more considerate and accommodating from the time we entered that zoo known as Ben Gurion Airport. I have absolutely no complaints about their treatment of us. I'm surprised to read this story. Could it be other things were going on, like rudeness & being uncooperative?

EL AL, on the other hand, were disgusting, both at the gate & on the plane. I'm complaining about them, even though I know it won't do any good. At least I feel I'm doing something, rather like making a police report even though you know nobody cares. You gotta do it.


 Aug 23, 2010 at 01:15 PM amicable Says:

They don't understand until arab suicide bombers dress up as cancer patients.

Quit your whining.


 Aug 23, 2010 at 01:21 PM smelka Says:

You can look at it both ways
While they have to be treated with respect I was also a cancer patient and had a iliostomy on my body with watery stool and when I went across security in nj they didn't see it made me wonder they check for every bit water and here I have a full bag on my body and they didn't notice it

On the other hand once when I traveled out of newark and I was after radiation treatment ten security guards circled me thinking I have on my radioactive explosive


 Aug 23, 2010 at 03:13 PM Anonymous Says:

The issue is doing it in public! If they would've called the victims aside in a room or in a hidden corner, it would've change the whole scenario, its a lack of seichel and a lack of menchlichkeit.


 Aug 23, 2010 at 10:06 PM Anonymous Says:

when a doctor or a chiropractor (or a disciplinarian like mommy who's gonna give you petch on your T....) orders your pants down , you obey because you know its for your own good . Israel happens to be a Medinah shel gehenim ! they hate frume yidden more than goyim hate yidden . we should be zoche B'kurev to the Geulah Amitis V'Hashleimoh !


 Aug 24, 2010 at 05:14 AM mendel from 37 st Says:

In a america they never call the victim aside to a private room at least not in jfk and newark

In isreal everything goes on in private rooms so at last no shame to the person


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