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i_like_leica

Israeli Security found my X1 to be a "Security Threat"

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This is my first post. I love my Leica X1 and took it all over Israel and Jordan this summer with fabulous results.

 

However I am curious as why Israeli Airport security found my X1 and the leather case to be a "Security Threat" when it was scanned at the airport. Has anyone else had this problem? During the standard Israeli interrogation before check-in at the the airport (this is before I left for Israel, with the Israeli security at check-in) they ran my X1, with a lens cap and SD card inserted and the Leica X1 Camera case (the stock Leica dark brown leather case with the form-fitted soft padded interior and neck strap) through a scanner and told me "Your camera is a security risk" then proceeded to use that as an excuse to take me in a private room and strip search me. I gave them the Leica charger and an extra battery in case they needed to do more checks or turn it on.

 

They spent about 30 minutes running the camera through a scanner in the room over and over again, arguing about the image on the screen (the lens cap intrigued them) and kept looking at the leather case, especially where the lens covering protrudes, the padding inside, and muttering in Hebrew.

 

At the end they said they had to ship my $2000 Leica in an envelope and a box, and the leather case had to be shipped in another box, which I could collect in Tel Aviv.

 

Upon my arrival in Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, the two packages arrived about 15 minutes after my luggage on the conveyor belt. I normally NEVER check a camera in my luggage as I have had them stolen before, so I was happy to see the box arrive. They had put everything in tightly wrapped plastic inside a box and an envelope. I noticed they had forgotten to pack the Leica charger and the Leica battery. At this point I just wanted to get out of the airport. Of course I could not find a replacement charger in Israel, at least not in a few days, and have now ordered a new battery and $100.00 charger on my return. I may send Israeli Airport Security a letter, but I doubt I'll get a refund.

 

I was quite surprised and delighted as the single charged battery lasted quite a while during my trip to Israel and Jordan, at least for 200+ shots, which was wonderful.

 

On my way out of the country I packed the leather case in my luggage and kept the camera with me in my carry on and had no extra searches beyond the regular intensive luggage scanning, opening, bomb searches, etc. So the case and camera together may have been the problem?

 

Has anyone had this problem, in particular with the Leica leather case? I think they may have been using this as an excuse to strip search me...I was travelling alone, although I really don't fit the standard terrorist "profile", having a UK background with a USA passport, catholic and with a Scottish last name.

 

Please don't let this become a thread about the necessity for heightened security checks and current political situation. I'm just curious if people have had this problem with the Leica padded leather cases when travelling. For me, this was the first time ever, and I used to travel with an M6. At most they used to ask me take my electronics and camera out of my carry on, but I have never had my camera deemed a "Risk" before.

 

Thanks! And the camera arrived OK. =)

Edited by i_like_leica
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Welcome aboard. I fear there is no way to explain the working of an airport security official's "mind". I was stopped yesterday for carrying my Novoflex walking stick/monopod despite it being confirmed as cabin luggage by KLM because I happened to have put it beside me on the chair instead of leaning on it

and had to check it....

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Here is a picture that I made with my X1 at about 4AM in Cairo International on Sunday following the "Day of Rage" I was flying El Al to Ben Gurian and certainly faced heightened security that weekend at both airports.

 

I carried my X1 as I always do with a carry-on laptop style bag. I was also extensively searched at a checkpoint in Israel as camera surveillance had picked me up pulling over twice to check bearings on a road leading into the territories. They obviously found my indecision about which way to go suspicious!

 

My cameras (i had my LX5 along as well) were never an issue for the security I faced but I would agree that it is never possible to second guess what security anywhere will find curious or a threat.

 

David

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Sorry to hear about the difficult experience. I traveled to Israel this summer and had my Leica X1 (no leather case then) with me and had no problems at the airport.

 

However, I did have an interesting experience involving the X-1. White we were there, we visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem, and as my group was going through the scanners I placed my X1 with other items to the side for security to inspect. Interestingly, the guard picked up my X1 and gave me a long stare as I walked through the scanner. My heart skipped a beat before he slowly and wordlessly handed it to me. I did notice that the guards were not picking up or otherwise touching any items that others had put down for inspection as they walked through the scanners. Very strange.

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....I gave them the Leica charger and an extra battery in case they needed to do more checks or turn it on. ....

 

Perhaps that was a mistake, with hindsight. They had placed you in an unforeseen situation where you only needed to respond to their specific questions. I think one consolation is that possession of the X1 had very little to do with their justification to search you. There were probably other factors, perhaps not appreciated by you at the time.

 

Sorry to hear about your experience at a time when we welcome you to the Forum.

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Welcome to LUF !

I made ​​several trips to South East Asia for medical humanitarian mission with my M8 and M9 ...

and my blood pressure + stethoscope, and I've never had such problems at all airports where I come down

Besides, I do not agree.

I think you have a respectable profession and therefore it may be taken into account

They think you put a bomb trigger in your X1 its' completely stupid

Moral: I will not go to countries where paranoia is thus

Sorry to to be frank!

Best

Henry

Edited by Doc Henry

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sorry to hear about that

 

probably not a comfort for you but I prefer when security officials are more thorough as it gives me more confidence on my overall safety

 

I have been to Israel many times and the verbal questions and occasionaly bag openings are common.

 

I haven't been strip searched but I suspect that has as much to do with your answers to questions, when the security official has been on his/her last top-up course and what they have been specifically alerted to regarding the particular time

 

Here's a picture of Haifa to cheer you up:

 

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I was questioned quite thoroughly upon departure from Ben Gurion last winter. I had an X1 on me as well, but that seemed not to play any part in the interrogation. The pictures taken with it were examined though, and they wanted the full timeline of my short trip backed up by the exif data of my pictures, and they made me show them my facebook and flickr stream to prove up my story about my whereabouts. It did feel quite intrusive actually.

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I was questioned quite thoroughly upon departure from Ben Gurion last winter. I had an X1 on me as well, but that seemed not to play any part in the interrogation. The pictures taken with it were examined though, and they wanted the full timeline of my short trip backed up by the exif data of my pictures, and they made me show them my facebook and flickr stream to prove up my story about my whereabouts. It did feel quite intrusive actually.

 

Unfortunately, certain people are questioned more then others depending on profile.

Single young men, for example, who are not on a religious pilgramage or have no roots in the country (e.g. Bahai, Christian, Jew or Muslim with family in Israel) are more intensly grilled.

This is an unfortunate side-effect of many young people sent to Israel to join an aggition group of one sort or another, usually under the cover of a charity. Whilst Israel, unbelievably, has a policy of letting most of these in, it still wants to check that they haven't photrographed or gone anywhere near a military installation or closed military zone, etc.

 

I don't want to descend into politics, but Israel does have higher and more intrusive security checks. Travellers just need to be ready for it.

 

My experience is that when I have taken my kids, it is relatively light.

When I went by myself I got a pretty long interogation (I have blond hair and blue eyes - so don't fit the "local profile" that well

)

 

I think the beauty of the country is well work the effort though. I generally feel safer in Israel on the street then many other places.

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Thanks for the replies! Yes, I was travelling alone and was not in Israel yet, I had not even checked in; this was the initial security check by Israeli security they do before check in at the airport counter. I had not taken any photos of Israel yet, so I'm sure it was an excuse to search me further. They did ask when the last time I used the X1 camera was, and also wanted to see photos of of myself or any friends I had been with recently on my iPhone camera - this is before I arrived in Israel. My X1 camera was so scrutinized on its own; I was curious if the leather case had set something off. I asked them after the intensive screening if it was the camera or the case that was the problem, trying to be helpful, as I also was curious. It was on the x-ray in the private room for a long time, going back and forth and enlarged on the green video screen. They kept arguing about something in hebrew, then pointing at the lens cap, or examining the Leica padded case around the lens area. One officer looked at me and said in english, "The case." Another said, "It's the entire camera."

I forgot to add that the one Israeli agent said to me, smiling (About my X1) "It looks like an old camera but it's modern and digital...hmmmmm." I also asked if they were going to have to open up the camera. An agent said they would like to, but since it's electronic and not supposed to be opened (obviously) and may break they can not (whew!)

I was also wearing a very nice large Swiss made chronograph watch, which they also inspected thoroughly, ran through 2 machines, and kept aside for 30 minutes... then one of the 3 officers, a woman, sat down next to me after my strip search to ask more questions:

Israeli agent: "This is a very special watch, yes?

Me: "Well yes. It's a hand made swiss chronograph with an iron inner case and it's anti magentic."

Israeli agent: "No, I mean the seconds hand does not work. Why is that? Is this a special watch? It tells the time but the seconds hand does not move. Why? What is the purpose of this watch? Does it have a special purpose?"

Me: "Well, it's a chronograph. You push the top button and the seconds hand times something. It's not supposed to move all the time. There is a small second hand that always moves...you just push this to start and this to reset the larger seconds hand." Upon which I proceeded to push the top button so it moved and one of the agents gasped! The woman kept prodding me with more questions, insisting the watch had a "special purpose" and finally gave in, and said she understood.

 

This was totally ridiculous! I decided they thought my Leica X1 was a bomb and my watch was the remote device. I'm so pleased, I must look like James Bond. =D

Edited by i_like_leica

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Heard the embassy of Israel is also extremely stringent in terms of security when applying for a visa.

 

Like the james bond thingy....

 

If you push the button on your chrono really deliberately and slowly in anticipation one of the agents may die instantly of a heart attack?

Edited by phancj

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OMG - modern and ignorant times! Everything that was quite common and normal in the past is suspicious these days. People don´t even know what a chronograph is...

Conclusion: If you´re not mainstream you´re in trouble!

 

Frank

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Sorry to hear about your less than pleasant experiences!

 

I have had similar experiences with computers and computer bags. For a while I used a black Tumi computer bag when I was traveling, and 9 out of 10 times I was pulled aside and (at least) the bag given extra checks.

 

After a while I asked security staff at both Newark and Frankfurt why. They told me dark (black mostly) and most often leather trigger something that requires them to do an extra check for contact with explosives (or gun powder as one explained). This resonated with the question of whether I had fired a weapon recently - and which never had.

 

This never happen with my wife's green, canvas camera bag.

 

I don't know what it's all about, but that's what I know. Colored canvas bags and no ready cases seems to be the way to go.

 

Hope this may help someone!

 

Cheers,

Knut

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/applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=http://www.digoliardi.net/moi_jb.jpg&key=762856e8dd686b3dad26967d50132b5c3c25e6a29d95500885fadc52c249eeaf">

 

I wonder how they would consider a native-american/french person.

 

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I have just arrived from Israel and Jordan myself, but had no problems with my Leicas (I hand carried an X1 + M9 + lenses) which I had in my handcarry.

 

What I was worried about was the Giottos Rocket Blower that I brought to blow out the dust from Petra, so I packed that in my luggage.

 

They let me through with no problems. They did ask me a lot of questions at immigration, but nothing to to with my gear. Sad to hear they harassed you, though.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/people/211778-x1-israel.html

Edited by jaapv
images moved to photoforum

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Please post photographs in the photoforum.

 

Pico posted a URL not a photograph.

Isn't there a difference with regards to the forum rules?

 

K-H.

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