Israeli police blow up American student’s laptop


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli border police questioned an American student and blew up her laptop computer when she entered the country through Egypt.

Lily Sussman, 21, was questioned Nov. 30 for two to three hours and had all of her possessions thoroughly searched. She recorded the incident in detail on her blog.

"They had pressed every sock and scarf with a security device, ripped open soap and had me strip extra layers," wrote Sussman, a Northeastern University student. "They asked me tons of questions — where are you going? Who do you know? Do you have a boyfriend? Is he Arab, Egyptian, Palestinian? Why do you live in Egypt? Why not Israel? What do you know about the ‘conflict’ here? What do you think? They quizzed me on Judaism, which I know nothing about."

Sussman wrote that she heard on the loudspeaker system that Israel security was going to blow up a suspicious piece of luggage.

"I went inside to check on my bag. I had left it unattended, where they instructed. It was still there so I went back outside," she wrote. "Moments later a man came outside and introduced himself as the manager on duty. And then, ‘I’m sorry but we had to blow up your laptop.’ "

Sussman reported that she was able to salvage her hard drive and thus several years’ worth of work. She said the security officials gave her an address where she could have her laptop replaced for free. 

Responding to the story, the Israel Airports Authority said that "A check that the lady’s luggage underwent raised an indication that required security figures to act according to procedures. A police officer, who carried out the stated operation, was called to the scene."

The authority said the Israel Police should be approached for additional information.

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