Channel 2 News on Thursday provided an inside look at the team which is tasked with preventing a scenario in which a flight is hijacked and forced to crash in the heart of Tel Aviv.
The team operates out of an airport security operations center in central Israel. Each passenger plane approaching Israel's airspace must identify itself to the crew in the security center before it is allowed to enter and land in the country.
"When an airplane arrives near the entrance to the Israeli airspace, it is asked to provide a code and answer a question of verification. Once the process is successfully completed, it is approved entry,” explained Dvir Rubenstein, Director of the airport security center.
Once the flight is allowed entry, he added, the verification process continues through the Ministry of Transportation which is accompanied by the Israel Air Force, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the Mossad.
If an airplane fails to identify itself, fighter jets will be scrambled and, at that point, the Prime Minister and Defense Minister will be asked to decide whether to approve an operation to down the suspicious airplane before it passes Israel’s coastline.
Channel 2 News noted that with the Open Skies agreement that was approved last year, the number of incoming flights to Israel has increased to 150 thousand per year, requiring cooperation with a host of countries and airlines.
"There is an expectation for a dramatic increase in the volume of entry of flights into Israel during the summer, so the system will be required to prepare itself and inspect each aircraft,” said Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)