Ministry considering 'biometric indentity cards' for tourists
The Interior Ministry has suggested creating a biometric database for all foreigners entering Israel.
A memo regarding this issue has been distributed by the Ministry, and reveals that a tourist who refuses to provide fingerprints and a picture of his physical features will not receive an entry visa.
According to the memo, Interior Ministry workers will not be the only ones authorized to collect biometric identification data from foreigners. They will be joined by police officers, wardens, Mossad and Shin Bet agents, soldiers, authorized security guards, members of the Knesset Guard, HMO workers, and in some places even local authority workers.
In the Courts
Associations for Civil Rights in Israel, Digital Rights Association say pilot program poses risk to public safety, ask court to suspend it
The Interior Ministry is also considering issuing special "biometric identity cards" for tourists and other foreigners as part of the database. The card, which will be carried by foreigners throughout their visit to Israel, will include its owner's name, a photo of his features, an identity number and other details which have yet to be determined.
What about the tens of thousands of refuge seekers and over 100,000 other foreigners who are already residing in Israel illegally? They too will be forced to provide the Interior Ministry with biometric identification data, which in this case could taken from them using "reasonable force" should they refuse, as long as they appear more than 14 years old.
Israel already has a biometric database for foreign workers entering the country to work in the nursing, agriculture and construction fields. The Interior Ministry has been trying to set up a biometric database for Israelis for years, but the initiative is still stuck.
The law authorizing the Ministry to set up a biometric database for Israelis has passed a Knesset vote, but the trial which was slated to begin last year hasn't started yet, although hundreds of millions of shekels have already been invested in the project.