Attorney General Menachem Mazuz recently instructed the Israel Airports Authority "to implement visible equality" between Arabs and Jews in security checks at Ben-Gurion Airport.
In a petition to the High Court of Justice, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel had alleged discriminatory treatment of Israeli Arabs in airport security checks. The Shin Bet security service and the IAA thus reached an agreement on the state's response to the petition, in accordance with guidelines issued by Mazuz.
Mazuz's guidelines specify equal treatment in the examination of passengers' checked and carry-on baggage as well as the markings made on the baggage. For checked baggage, the current policy will remain in effect: The bags are machine-screened in front of the passenger. If the machine issues a security flag, the bags are opened and examined further, also in front of the passenger.
With regard to carry-on baggage, the current policy of directing members of various communities to different screening machines will have to be changed to conform with the new directives.
The IAA has already begun implementing a uniform baggage-marking method, using white, barcoded stickers that are the same for all population groups. In the past, bags were tagged with stickers of different colors, and then with numbers, for different groups.
The new policy is to remain in effect at Ben-Gurion Airport until the planned Hold Baggage Screening (HBS) system is introduced next year. This system entails the automatic screening of all checked baggage after it enters the automated baggage handling system.
An IAA spokesperson said the authority could not comment on an ongoing legal matter.
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