Passover travelers: check for bullets in your bag

Amid increase of Israelis arrested in airports, Foreign Ministry urges travelers to ensure they have no ammunition when packing.

Shoshana Miskin,

Bullet belt
Bullet belt
Flash 90

As the Passover holiday approaches, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs urges Israelis who plan to travel abroad to carefully examine all their bags and luggage to make sure there are no forgotten bullets, cartridge or any other weapons pieces.

Recently, there has been an increase in the number of Israeli civilians detained in airports abroad for carrying forgotten ammunition and even weapon parts in their bags or suitcases. In most cases, equipment from reserve duty or military service is simply overlooked while packing, while others borrowed bags from their military friends.

The common denominator in all of the cases is that they were somehow undetected by security inspections at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, and were discovered overseas in connecting flights or upon the traveler’s return to Israel.

"We want to prevent complications for Israelis abroad,” said Stella Rapp, Head of the Consular Division of the Foreign Ministry, according to Yedioth Ahronoth.

"This phenomenon is beyond strange, especially in the days of high alert against terror attacks all airports all around the world. Israelis must show more responsibility. In recent months we have seen an increase in these cases. There is a lack of attention on the part of the Israelis but this phenomenon borders on negligence of travelers who do not bother to check backpacks and luggage."

Likewise, the phenomenon affects Israeli consul workers overseas who often find themselves traveling to the airport in the middle of the night to try help detained Israelis.

The Foreign Ministry stressed that not all Israelis are able be released. Some cases, in which Israelis were arrested and detained in a long time, resulting in financial and emotional distress. Most cases result in large monetary fines ranging from 5,000 shekels ($1,300) to 15,000 shekels ($4,000).