Sorry if this question might seem suspicious - as a frequent traveler to Israel it's simply something I've always wondered about.

El Al has some well-known extra security methods for all flights to Israel, including operating their own additional baggage screening system, air marshals, etc. I believe Arkia and Israir do the same and that the Israeli government supplies the budget.

Are foreign airlines flying to Israel (Lufthansa, BA, etc) forced to also use these methods and screen passengers? Strangely although I've flown with foreign carriers and El Al many times I can't recollect how the experience differed - and would have no way of knowing about additional baggage screening.

If anybody has any information it would be nice to have my curiosity satisfied!

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    Asking for a friend – zeocrash Sep 27 '18 at 17:10
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    The question is about security, and so sensitive. Probably you will not get a full answer. Most of security is done independently of airline (checks on origin airport, air marshals). Israel needs to protect people who will travel in/from Israel, not just a airline. You may notice police cars following airplanes due to take off to Israel. El Al has some extra security (it was the first to use armored cockpit door), and anti missile defense, but I do not think this increase the security, on normal periods. On trouble periods, other airlines will not flight (so still secure). – Giacomo Catenazzi Sep 28 '18 at 10:29
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    Whilst I agree this question may be considered a duplicate of the above, the accepted answer to that question is unhelpful and mostly wrong. :( – Doc Sep 29 '18 at 22:22
  • As far as I know, the transparent measures are the same, the visible are sometimes the same sometimes not - depending of origin of flight . – Obmerk Kronen Oct 20 '18 at 16:09
  • Thanks for the information. If memory serves me right, there was absolutely nothing remarkable about the security on my flight back to Israel last week (with Aegean). In fact, it was the closest to "regular" security that I've had on any non-El Al connection. So I guess the answer is "El Al's (overt) intense security abroad is unique. For outbound flights, the Israeli government enforces it, so it doesn't matter which airline you fly. Invisible/convert security -- nobody really knows, and for the benefit of all those flying to Israel, it will probably stay that way." – Daniel Rosehill Oct 21 '18 at 17:04

For flights INTO Israel, it is only Israeli airlines (in particular, El-Al) that receive the "extreme" level of security that you are referring to.

However, other airlines flying into Israel are forced to meet a certain level of security for such flights - but it is not as extreme as is seen on the Israeli airlines.

The additional security carried out varies, but I have personally experienced everything from simple swab-based explosives checks on all carry-on bags, to being scanned with a portable metal detector, carry-on bags being re-X-rayed at the gate, pat-downs, and basic security interviews.

I've even had flights where there was no additional security checks carried out when flying from Turkey to Israel, however this seems to have been due to political contention between the two countries, and on my last few flights on that route additional checks have been re-introduced.

When DEPARTING Israel, all security is carried out by the Israel government and meets similar criteria as those carried out by El Al for flights into Israel.

There is no official statement on why El Al flights get this additional security, however the general belief is that it's because an attack on an Israeli airline, or on any flight departing Israel, would likely be seen as an attack against Israel, whilst an attack on a foreign airline departing a foreign airport would not be.

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  • I probably shouldn't write this in a public forum, but my girlfriend (completely accidentally) got a forbidden item onto a flight into Israel from Turkey last summer - I think a tourist wine opener, which had a small extendable knife. That was after the most ridiculously intense security I have ever witnessed (security check to get into the departures terminal, regular passenger screening, security check to get to the gate concourse, security to get to the Israeli gate).My faith in Israel's "human intelligence" based security methodology increased exponentially as a result. – Daniel Rosehill Oct 21 '18 at 17:08

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