Can airport security search my phone
Can airport security in Israel force me to provide my laptop or online account credentials?
Israeli security is a "nightmare" as you described it, only if you turn it into one in your head.
The reason they ask you to log into your computer is just to make sure it is yours and that you are not carrying someone else's computer (one of the questions they are asking you is is all you with you, belonged to you.).
Another reason is to see that the computer is functional and not a masked device ...
During my business visits to Israel, I was asked to turn on or log in a lot of equipment, from cameras to HD to drills to welders. Nothing to do with your social profiles.
After YOU (not you) have logged on to the computer, the time has come. You do not touch your computer yourself. You mustn't. You don't want to either.
Can you refuse YES.
Is it a good idea? Probably not .
That will only arouse suspicion and cause further problems.
Regarding social networks - Nobody can know if you are registered on a particular social network or not. Nobody will ask you to sign in to an account from another computer. These stories just can't be accurate.
As an aside, I would like to say that Israel is one of the most advanced high-tech nations in the world, if not THE most advanced. If they really want it, believe me, you will have no problem getting into your phone without asking for your permission. You did it with the nuclear facilities in Iran. Do you really think your phone is safer (or more interesting)? Furthermore - I'll bet half (if not more) of the components and software in your phone and computer are connected or developed, directly or indirectly, in Israel - without you even knowing. :-) from Intel chips to Google products.
You are just asking these things to see your reaction and attitude. It's called "Profiling".
... AND - Israel isn't the only country doing this - I've been asked to log into my computer in at least 10 different countries - and in one (China) I wasn't even asked to. They just took the computer and did what they wanted themselves.
To answer your direct questions:
You can refuse ? - Yes, you can refuse (including refusing legally) and request a lawyer or a court order. I was searched in Israel and asked to sign a waiver form. You can refuse to sign. Wait for a court order. Lose your flight.
The consequences ? - You get pride of place on a not-so-pretty list.
Is it worth ? I do not think so .
Best practice ? If you are really scared - ask an Israeli colleague to come with you. They are going to ask him some security questions about you - the easiest way to monitor security there.
Last note - these events happen on your departure. No arrival. By then, your attitudes towards Israel (and its security procedures) would likely change and you will have absolutely no problems. If it doesn't change - so try fake it to change it.
As others have written here - Sometimes it is better to be smart than right.
EDIT / UPDATE:
As I wrote in some of the comments, it is strange that this question should only be addressed to Israel. I think it's a valid question, but maybe it should be directed to other (all ??) countries too, for example the USA.
U.S. immigration could soon be asking for social media accounts for travelers
Official U.S. federal registry
Though not implemented yet - this shows the currents and winds in the airport security industry and the weather we like or not - also the direction it could ultimately end in.
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