Israeli “Airport Security Device” Joke Message

A message that has circulated via email and social media for several years claims that the Israelis are developing an airport security system in which any explosives that passengers may have on them will be automatically detonated when they step into an armoured booth.

Brief Analysis:
The claims are untrue. The Israelis are not using or developing such a system. The message is just a dark humour piece that has circulated in various forms for years. Earlier versions outlined the concept as a possible solution but did not claim that the Israelis – or anybody else – were actually developing such a system.

Subject: Boarding planes in Israel – I love it!
What a simple and brilliant idea! I particularly like the ‘spare’ seat announcement!!
Go for it!
How simple and effective! This is common sense, people!
It’s hard to beat Israeli technology!
Israeli 'Airport Security Device' Joke MessageTEL AVIV, Israel – The Israelis are developing an airport security device that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners.
It’s an armoured booth you step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on your person.
Israel sees this as a win-win situation for everyone, with none of this crap about racial profiling. It will also eliminate the costs of long and expensive trials.
You’re in the airport terminal and you hear a muffled explosion. Shortly thereafter, an announcement:
“Attention to all standby passengers, El Al is pleased to announce a seat available on flight 670 to London. Shalom!”BRILLIANT

Detailed Analysis:
According to this message, which has been circulating via email and social media posts since at least 2011, the Israelis are developing a novel “airport security device” that will blow up attackers carrying explosives before they board any aircraft.

The message claims that each airport passenger will need to step through an armoured booth that is designed to automatically detonate any explosives the passenger may be carrying, thereby (literally) eliminating the threat. The message includes a picture that supposedly depicts one of the booths.

However, the message is just a humour piece – albeit a rather dark one –  and was never intended to be taken seriously. Of course, there are no credible reports that suggest Israel is developing or implementing any such bomb booth technology. Nor is any other nation.

Using such a system would equate to implementing a death penalty without trial. And, what of a scenario in which an attacker planted an explosive device on an innocent passenger? This could result in the violent deaths of people who have done no wrong.

Moreover, developing a technology that could instantly detect every kind of explosive device or substance is problematical at best. The technology would need to be sensitive enough to “sniff” the explosive just by having the offending passenger step into a booth. A big ask. The technology would have to have an extremely high level of accuracy for all kinds of explosives or it simply would not be worth using.

And, it would be difficult to build a booth capable of withstanding any size or type of blast. An unexpectedly large blast might destroy the booth along with the attacker and kill or injure innocent airport passengers and staff.

Thus, while some might consider the concept a good idea, it is extremely unlikely that any jurisdiction would ever actually implement it.

Early versions of the message just described the concept. They did not suggest that the system described was actually being developed. Nor did they name a country.

Thus, it seems that some prankster has taken the old joke and given it new life by adding a photograph and falsely claiming that the supposed airport bomb booth was actually being developed in Israel.

Last updated: February 6, 2017
First published: November 10, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
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