Anyone traveling to Israel hears stories about prolonged searches. If you expect them on arrival, you may think you have had it lucky, breezing through the process.
But it is on departure that such extensive searches are typical. I discovered that having a jar of date preserves will get you sent into a separate line, and the jar placed in a box of its own marked “Fragile.”
You may think that from there on it will be smooth sailing. But next there will be a long line to check your boarding documents, then another long and slow line to check you and your hand luggage.
At that point, I was asked to turn on my iPad, and they actually skimmed my folders to see what sorts of things I had on there, and asked me about one with the name “Arabic,” although they only asked whether I speak Arabic, and did not prolong the procedure when I answered that I am learning it.
Passport control was relatively smooth and quick after all that.
If you travel to Israel, I would not leave less than 3 hours at the absolute minimum between getting to the airport and your departing flight, and recommend leaving even more time than that.
I understand the need for security, but the process can be enough to ensure that you don’t leave with too much euphoria that you may have accumulated during your stay.
I should add that all the security staff I dealt with were all cheerful and didn’t seem to have any interest in prolonging processes or delaying me unnecessarily.
So what advice can I offer? Don’t buy jarred liquid souvenirs, pack in such a way that you can open your bag without difficulty or embarrassment, leave lots of time, wear comfortable shoes, remain cheerful, and perhaps have a book handy to pass the time if you bore easily and are comfortable reading standing up.