TEL AVIV, Israel, June 5 (UPI) -- Several U.S. tourists trying to enter Israel said they were asked for access to their personal e-mail, an action Israel's intelligence service says is legal.
Israel's Shin Bet security officials have demanded access to the e-mail accounts of visiting tourists with Arab names, three U.S. citizens testified recently, Haaretz reported Tuesday. They said they were interrogated at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv and eventually denied entry into Israel last month.
The three said they were interrogated for several hours, asked to log on to their e-mail accounts and, if they refused, were told they must have had something to hide. After their detention, they were told they weren't permitted to enter Israel.
Haaretz said two of the three women were of Palestinian descent, but did not include the heritage of the third person.
Ronit Eckstein, an Israel Airports Authority spokesman, told Haaretz the Interior Ministry is responsible for tourists' entry into Israel, and that security officials who interrogated the women weren't employees of the Airports Authority or Ben Gurion Airport.
The Interior Ministry said security checks are the responsibility of the Shin Bet, the country's domestic security service.
Shin Bet confirmed that two were questioned by intelligence agents, adding that the agents' actions during questioning were within the organization's authority under Israeli law.