Israeli ambassador to Panama, a Druze, decries treatment at Ben Gurion Airport
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'Thirty years of humiliation and it’s still not over'

Israeli ambassador to Panama, a Druze, decries treatment at Ben Gurion Airport

Reda Mansour says security guard delayed him and his family upon learning they were from Arab village

Israel's ambassador to Panama, Reda Mansour. (YouTube screenshot)
Israel's ambassador to Panama, Reda Mansour. (YouTube screenshot)

Israel’s ambassador to Panama on Saturday said security personnel at Ben Gurion Airport delayed him and his family when they found out he was from an Arab village in the country’s north.

Mansour, 54, is a member of Israel’s Druze community and from the Druze-majority village of Ussafiya, near Haifa. He is a veteran diplomat and has previously served as Israel’s ambassador to Brazil and Ecuador.

Mansour published a summary of his conversation with a security officer on his Facebook page on Saturday. He said that as soon as the security officer at the entrance to the airport heard the name of his hometown, she told the car driver to pull over.

She got into the vehicle and told all the occupants, including Mansour’s wife and two daughters, to present their passports and identify themselves, Mansour wrote.

He compared the guard’s tone and body language to an army commander dealing with new soldiers in boot camp.

She asked about their travel plans, and Mansour told her they were going to Paris and then on to Panama, where he worked at the embassy. She asked who was traveling, gave the family a long look-over and let them pass, he said.

After the encounter, Mansour wrote that his daughter remarked: “It’s so irritating the way she spoke to you when you were smiling the whole time and answering her politely.”

Mansour concluded the post with strong language, saying “Ben Gurion, you can go to hell. Thirty years of humiliation and it’s still not over. You used to take us apart at the terminal, and now we’re suspects even at the entrance.”

He noted that Ussafiya was not a village across the Green Line, but home to the main cemetery for Druze IDF soldiers, and suggested that airport security officials visit the cemetery.

He ended the post saying: “I have only one thing left to say to you: I feel like vomiting!”

The airport issued a biting response to the post, saying: “Security checks at Ben Gurion Airport are carried out regardless of religion, race or gender. When you meet more than 25 million travelers each year, there will be some who will choose to be insulted by their meeting with the security guard who is only doing her job.

“We too have friends and family, like you do, buried in IDF cemeteries. I suggest the honorable ambassador tell his daughter next time that the security scan is doing everything possible to protect her and the country,” the statement read.

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