Shalala, 69, a former secretary of health and human services during the Clinton administration, was "delayed by questions and a full luggage search that lasted almost three hours, but she didn't miss her plane," said Margot Winick, a University of Miami spokeswoman, in an e-mail, The Miami Herald reported.
The Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Shalala was asked personal questions at the airport near Tel Aviv for about two hours.
"While I was inconvenienced, Israel's security and the security of travelers is far more important," said Shalala said in a statement. "I have been going in and out of Israel for many years and expect to visit again."
Officials said her last name was what triggered the security incident, the Yedioth Ahronoth said. Shalala is of Lebanese descent.
Shalala was visiting Israel in July as part of a U.S. delegation of university leaders invited by Project Interchange. The interchange is a program of the American Jewish Congress, the Herald said.