For two years those who want to can join
The special committee appointed to discuss the subject of a biometric database convened Tuesday at the Prime Minister's Office.
The committee, headed by Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser, has decided to postpone the launching of the database by two years, despite a recently passed bill that orders its assembly.
The biometric database bill, which passed its first Knesset reading in October, suggests the use of smart IDs and passports, based on fingerprints and visual scans in order to prevent forgery of state documents.
Controversial bill faces new opposition, this time by religious elements fearing observant women would be compelled to remove headdress in order to be scanned into database
The controversial decision has so far encountered vast opposition from many Knesset members, human right groups and even the Public Defender's Office, as all claim it would be detrimental to the citizens' right to privacy and as such, it has no place in a democracy.
Meir Sheetrit, who promoted the law during his time as interior minister, claims that there are many sensitive databases in Israel – including medical databases as well as those of the Shin Bet – which have not leaked out, and that the biometric database would also be kept safe.
According to the compromise on the bill, a pilot database will be launched allowing all citizens desiring an updated ID card or passport to sign up. Israelis who don't desire to do so will not be forced to join and will receive regular passports and IDs.
The pilot can only be launched after the biometric database law passes its second and third readings in the Knesset, and even then a trial of a few months will be necessary.
The goal of the pilot is to test the system's capabilities and its security, and to allow the Interior Ministry to gauge public response.
Ehud Kenan contributed to this report