Photo Credit: Avshalom Sassoni/FLASH90
Israelis line up outside the Interior Ministry in Tel Aviv to renew their passports, in Tel Aviv, May 14, 2023.

Following a two-year crisis, starting Sunday morning and for the next 30 days, thousands of Israelis will be able to renew their passports without an appointment at the four main Population Authority bureaus in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Be’er Sheva. Interior Minister Moshe Arbel has warned of long lines and called on the public to be patient. The above picture is of the line in Tel Aviv this morning.

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In the land of frayed nerves, there has been concern that a massive onslaught on those four offices would lead to friction and fights among Israelis standing in the long lines, which is why the Minister appealed to the citizens to be patient.

“For about two years now, the State of Israel has been dealing with the passport crisis,” Arbel said in a statement to the public. “The difficulty in making an appointment to issue a passport at the Population and Immigration Authority bureaus has reached an unbearable level for many citizens. At the beginning of the year, the previous Minister of the Interior, Aryeh Deri, placed the resolution of this crisis at the top of the ministry’s priorities, and this week we are starting Operation Passport Marathon, to change the trend.”

“As you already know, in the coming month we have decided to designate at least the four main population and immigration bureaus strictly to issue passports from morning to evening – and without the need to make an appointment in advance. We have also opened a new bureau in Bnei Brak to deal only with issuing passports, which can be reached only by making an appointment,” Minister Arbel said, and added, “I visited the bureaus and I can say wholeheartedly that all the employees of the Population and Immigration Authority are harnessed and determined to succeed with the process they have initiated. It is important to us that anyone who wants to fly during the summer vacation and does not have a valid passport – will manage to get issued.”

The four bureaus will operate Sunday to Thursday from 7:30 AM to 9:00 PM. Interior Ministry employees will continue to serve the public inside their office after the doors are closed at the end of the day until everyone is served.

At the end of the month-long operation, there will be an assessment as to whether it should be extended.

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