We all have unique experiences when we visit a different city or country, but how often does your black identity have an impact on your trip? In our Diary of a Black Traveler series, we ask members of the Travel Noire family to share their personal experiences of being a black traveler in an unfamiliar space. Sunny (sunnyineverycountry.com) tells Travel Noire about her encounters with the Israeli government before a solo getaway to Israel.
Travel Noire: Did you feel like you were treated differently because you were Black and from a different country while you were in Israel?
Sunny: Absolutely, yes.
Travel Noire: What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Sunny: I boarded the returning flight in tears. I randomly stopped during security passage. I went through body scan three times without any valid explanation. They kept asking me the reason for my trip to Israel. My laptop was ceased because the battery died after 2 hours of constant interrogation. I made sure I had at least 30% battery life before heading to the airport on my laptop, but because security took so long to check my laptop, it died and they refused to give me the opportunity to charge it. I was escorted inside the plane as though I was a prisoner being deported back to the United States. I even presented my global entry card which clearly shows I am a trusted traveler but it didn’t make any difference to them.
Travel Noire: How did you grow from overcoming that experience?
Sunny: I am not sure if I’ve actually overcome that experience. I just concluded that Israel is not a country I will return to even though the locals were extremely kind. The government, not so much.
Travel Noire: What surprised you the most about this experience.
Sunny: Even though many travelers will want to visit Israel for religious purposes, the Israeli government limits travelers movements, especially in Jerusalem and to Bethlehem. Christians and Muslims live very peaceful in Palestine (Bethlehem) than what the Western media shows us.
Travel Noire: What impact has that trip had on your life?
Sunny: My laptop was ceased but returned damaged
Travel Noire: Would you encourage other black travelers to visit this destination?
Sunny: I will advise black travelers to visit because I believe everyone will have different experiences, but I advise you to be very cautious.