US airport security puts Israeli doctor in 'gas chamber'

Sunday, June 03, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

A respected Israeli doctor invited to participate in a medical conference in San Francisco was placed inside what she described as a “gas chamber” during a rigorous airport security check prior to returning home.

Dr. Dorit Zilberman, a senior urologist at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, filed a complaint with Israel's Foreign Ministry, insisting that she was singled out by the American security agents simply because she was Israeli, reported Ynet.

Following what she said was a humiliating body search, Zilberman was led to a small chamber and told to get inside. Blasts of compressed air were then fired at her as part of a new security measure meant to reveal any traces of explosive materials on the suspect's clothing.

“My family perished in the gas chambers in Europe. I never believed that 65 years later, I would be marked, isolated and taken into a gas chamber,” said Zilberman, who complained that throughout what was already a traumatic process, she was treated with utmost insensitivity by the US security staff.

American airport security measures since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks have been harshly criticized for their random and generally inconsiderate implementation.

Airport administrators from several major US airports recently visited Israel to learn how security is handled at Ben Gurion International Airport. The visitors praised the highly effective and efficient Israeli procedure, but noted that it is based largely on racial profiling, a practice banned in the US.

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