Left Israel? Don't lose your identity card

Supreme Court upholds State's refusal to issue ID cards to Israeli who emigrated.

Michal Levi ,

Israeli identity cards (illustrative)
Israeli identity cards (illustrative)
Flash 90

An Israeli citizen who emigrated and lost his identity card won't be able to receive a new one, the Supreme Court said.

The ruling came after an Israeli who lives in Oslo, Norway, lost his Israeli identity card, which he used during his frequent trips to Israel. Among other things, the citizen used his identity card to open an Israeli bank account.

After he lost his card, he requested a new one from the Population and Immigration Authority, but was refused. He then turned to the Supreme Court.

The petition centered on the question of whether an Israeli who lives abroad is eligible to receive an identity card after his current card is lost and he reports it as lost to the Population and Immigration Authority.

The State's attorney quoted the section of the Population Registry Law titled, "The Right to Receive an Identity Card." In that section, the law states: "A citizen who is in Israel and who is over sixteen years of age must receive an identity card." According to the attorney, the words "a citizen who is in Israel" refer to a citizen whose place of residence is in Israel, which is not the case for Israelis who emigrated.

The attorney also pointed out that an Israeli citizen who lives abroad does not need an identity card, even if he visits Israel frequently for business, since he can use his Israeli passport as identification, including for business, commerce, and opening and managing bank accounts.

The Supreme Court accepted the State attorney's argument and ruled that even though the petitioner is an Israeli citizen, he does not have the right to receive an identity card from the Population and Immigration Authority, nor does the Authority have an obligation to issue him a card. The court also ruled that visits to Israel are not considered residency for this issue.

According to the court, there is no difference between a citizen who is not a resident and who wants to receive an identity card for the first time, and a citizen who is not a resident who wants to replace a former identity card received when he was a resident.