On the journey back to Israel, we flew into Charles de Gaulle Airport, where we picked up the mid morning El Al flight. To get the final flight, after landing from the USA we had to go through the usual flight connections route, ending up with a security check before we were allowed access to the gate.
At the security check – where they x-rayed the hand baggage we had – they asked one of my girls to confirm the contents of the bottle of alcohol she had bought in the USA as a gift. It was still in its USA customs seal, but the security operative insisted on opening the seal, and the bag, and the gift box it was packed in, so as to examine the bottle.
At the same time, he noticed my daughter collecting her baggage, belt, and boots (and so on) from the x-ray conveyor belt. She had separated out her small change and put it in a ziploc bag. The security operative noticed this and said:
“What’s this? Are you Jewish?”
My daughter was on her own and took the decision – sensibly in my opinion – to ignore the comment, although inwardly she was very upset. (It rarely pays to mess with airport security personnel.) She finished with collecting her belongings, came over to where I was waiting, and told me. We did not have long before the flight and that, largely, guided our decision to do nothing more. We didn’t have the person’s name, and he had moved on to another part of the airport, so we could no longer point him out. It left a bad taste. Maybe it’s representative of just how bad things are in France. Maybe we should have reported it. Maybe that’s the way things are, and always will be.