An incident happened at the train station last week which I thought pointed out the difference between Israel and other countries. As usual, when the train pulls into the station, there is a rush at the entrance by those coming a bit late and wanting to make the train (by my station the trains leave about every twenty minutes).
The security guard was doing his job checking everyone’s bags, but one gentleman was in a rush and wanted to get through quickly. The guard became angry, and “pushed back” (not physically, but almost) and insisted that the man slow down and get checked as he should. The crowd behind the man, also wanting to catch the train, started to complain and demanded that the guard take the man aside and let everyone else go through.
The guard reacted very strongly and told everyone in a very loud and firm voice that NOONE was going through until the man in question was checked as he should be. Meanwhile the train closed its doors and left the station, leaving a group of very annoyed Israelis.
Many were annoyed at the man who caused the hold-up, some were angry at the guard, and others were angry at the station master, thinking he should have stopped the train for them. (Chutzpah, no?)
Personally, I was very reassured at this incident.
Just think, if you were a terrorist trying to get a bomb onto a crowded train, how would you do it, if there is a security guard at the entrance to the station checking bags? Perhaps you would join up with someone else, who would cause a distraction, and you would rush through while the guard spent his time checking someone who seemed to be more suspicious than you?
This is obviously what the guards are trained to look for – and the one at my station ignored the annoyed crowd behind the first man and insisted on checking everyone thoroughly. Of course noone was a terrorist this time around, and every bag turned out to be fine.
But you never know – and the fact that the guards are doing what they should be doing is keeping all of us safer. Even if the crowd grumbles and yells at each other afterwards. Security comes first.