At least three American citizens were ordered by security agents to submit to a search of their private email account shortly after landing at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport.
25-year-old Najwa Doughman of New York and 42-year-old Sandra Tamari of St. Louis both underwent similar experiences and relayed their stories on the website Mondoweiss.
Doughman, who is of Palestinian descent, was visiting Israel for the third time with a friend, 24-year-old Sasha Al-Sarabi, who is also Palestinian. She says she was interrogated by Shin Bet security guards for hours before being denied entry into Israel.
During her questioning, Doughman says her interrogator pointed a browser to gmail.com and said "log in." Shocked, Doughman complied. The interrogator then searched through her email using keywords such as "Palestine" and "International Solidarity Movement," occasionally reading lines out loud and writing down contact names and other personal info.
Despite being denied entry, Doughman and Al-Sarabi were subjected to a body search and a meticulous bag check that included having all their electronic equipment sent through an explosives-detection machine twice.
Tamari, a Quaker of Palestinian descent who has been involved in boycott campaigns against Israel, was questioned for eight hours. She refused to allow the security agents to access her email account and was denied entry. An unidentified American citizen also refused to permit the Shin Bet to look through her emails and was similarly denied entry.
Both were told their reluctance meant they were likely trying to keep something hidden.
Reached for comment, the Shin Bet told Ha'aretz the "actions taken by the agents during questioning were within the organizations authority according to Israeli law."