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Beliefnet News

Half-Jewish, half-Arab housewife arrested, released in 9/11 scare

Shoshana Hebshi, who describes herself as “half-Arab, half Jewish,” was at the center of an in-flight scare that made headlines Sunday.

The self-described housewife was arrested at gunpoint at the end of a Frontier Airlines flight after other passengers reported her behavior with two male passengers as being “suspicious.” Security was heightened since America was somberly observing the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on America.

She was aboard a plane between Denver and Detroit on Sunday when passengers complained about her behavior, including that she was “making out” with with two Indian men sitting in her row — who she says she did not know. Another passenger had reported the two men as being “suspicious,” apparently after they got up to go to the bathroom in succession.


In Detroit, an armed SWAT team stormed onto the plane and took the three into custody.

Hebshi says was unaware that she was the focus of the team. Just before she was arrested, she had sent a Twitter message on her mobile phone saying telling her sister that “Cops in uniform and plainclothes huddle in rear of plane.”

Hebshi told reporters on Tuesday:

“Someone shouted for us to place our hands on the seats in front of us, heads down. The cops ran down the aisle, stopped at my row and yelled at us to get up. One of the cops, grabbing my arm a little harder than I would have liked. He slapped metal cuffs on my wrists and pushed me off the plane.

“The three of us, two Indian men living in the Detroit metro area, and me, a half-Arab, half-Jewish housewife living in suburban Ohio, were being detained.”


“They had done some background check on me already because they knew I had been to Venezuela in 2001.

“They asked about my brother and my sister and asked about my foreign travel. They asked about my education and wanted my address, Social Security, phone number, Facebook, Twitter, pretty much my whole life story.

“I asked what was going on, and the man said judging from their line of questioning that I could probably guess, but that someone on the plane had reported that the three of us in row 12 were conducting suspicious activity.

“What is the likelihood that two Indian men who didn’t know each other and a dark-skinned woman of Arab/Jewish heritage would be on the same flight from Denver to Detroit? Was that suspicion enough?


“Even considering that we didn’t say a word to each other until it became clear there were cops following our plane?’

Hebshi and the two men were released without charges.

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