The family – either a couple or siblings, and five children – were arrested at the Vancouver International Airport. The Iranian family used the name "Solomons", while pretending to be an Israeli family supposedly residing in Rehovot.
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The family includes the mother, Mona Solomons, 48, the father or sibling Tomer, 40, and the children Nadine, 15, Narin, 11, Binyamin, 9, Marin, 6, and Nermin, 5.
All seven suspects came to Canada through a third country and not through Tehran. Once the immigration authority in Vancouver began suspecting the family, they sent their passports and information to the Israeli Immigration and Border Authority (PIBA).
A quick review revealed that the passports in the family's possession were either stolen or lost in the past to real Israeli citizens, and fabricated in accordance to the clients' details.
In the past, criminal agents in Iran made use of Israeli passport and were caught as individuals in different places in the world. This is the first time an extensive fraud of Israeli passports is made for an entire family. According to estimates, the Iranian citizens wished to immigrate to Canada using their Israeli passports, since Israelis are not required to have permits for entry, while Iranians cannot enter Canadian borders without visas.
The Israeli passport theft phenomenon is widely common in the world due to the unbearable ease at forging the poor-quality passport. The passports are sold in several Asian countries for hundreds of dollars, while some reach the hands of Iranian gangs, who sell them to the highest bidder. These passports are actually an Iranian exit card for emigrants.
The forgers did not excel, and the passports contain many amusing faults. While the English writing is accurate, the Hebrew forging is abundant with errors, some quite embarrassing.
For example, the city of Jerusalem, where the Solomons were born, was changed to "Shirushalaim", and while in English it says that the passports were issued in the United States, in Hebrew it says they were issued in Rehovot. The forgers assumed that the Canadian immigration authority would not be able to read Hebrew, so they put their efforts in counterfeiting in English.
The real identity of the Iranians is unknown, and the family is now being questioned. It is likely that the family will request political asylum in Canada, so there is no certainty they would be deported back to Iran.
PIBA Director Amnon Ben Ami confirmed the details of the report Wednesday night, saying: "This incident is not the only one where foreign citizens walk around with Israeli passports in the world without the owners of those identity cards knowing of it. However, this case proves the Knesset's necessity in biometric passports that fully battle identity theft."
In the past two week, Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar launched a biometric identity cards and passports pilot. The use of biometric documentation, which is highly controversial for fear of information leakage, is meant to prevent forgery and use of other identities.
The means chosen for biometric documentation in Israel include computer image of the person’s face instead of a printed image, and fingerprints of both index fingers.
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