Denmark is refusing to allow Israeli security personnel to carry arms and conduct routine security checks of passengers at Kastrup Airport.
In response, Israel is considering halting all direct flights to and from Copenhagen – not only on Israel's El Al airlines, but also on Denmark's Cimber-Sterling. In the past, Israelis have met with security issues in Denmark, as elsewhere.
The Danish government contends that allowing Israeli personnel to carry arms and conduct security checks at its airport violates “laws of occupation and human dignity.”
Such procedures have long contributed to El Al's reputation as one of the safest international passenger airlines in the industry, however.
The controversy began last year when Israel's security procedures were discussed on a local South African television program. A former Israeli security officer mentioned that El Al airlines uses racial profiling as part of its security screening procedures.
An El Al security officer who worked in Johannesburg and who also was employed by the Israeli embassy was expelled by the South African government shortly thereafter.
Likewise, the Turkish government in 2004 imposed a ceiling on the number of security personnel it would allow El Al to station at the Ataturk international airport, prompting Israel to consider halting flights to that country as well.