Israeli passports
Israeli passportsNati Shohat/Flash90

Interior Minister Moshe Arbel (Shas) announced in a press conference Monday that between May 14 and June 15, the ministry’s four largest passport offices will work around the clock to alleviate the backlog of requests that has plagued the ministry since the COVID pandemic.

Under the plan announced by Arbel, four Interior Ministry passport offices, in Jerusalem, Beersheba, Haifa, and Tel Aviv, will receive passport applications during extended hours and without the need to schedule an appointment for a whole month.

"Those who have scheduled an appointment will receive it, but it will also be possible to receive service without an appointment," said Arbel.

He noted that in order to deal with the high demand for passports during the summer, the four offices will temporarily switch to dealing exclusively with biometric passport issuance on Sundays to Thursdays between 7:30 am and 10:00 pm.

This move will take place in parallel with the opening of a new passport issuance center in Bnei Brak.

Director-General of the Population and Immigration Authority, Eyal Siso, will lead the project, which will involve adding staff from all authority units to the population administration offices and the passport production unit.

It is estimated that during this period, thousands of new appointments for passport issuance will be added each week.

In addition, in order to free up additional manpower to focus on passport services, Minister of Interior Arbel has decided to extend over 11,000 foreign resident permits in Israel.

"As a ministry whose purpose is to provide service to the public, I have placed this issue at the top of the priority list. My intention is to promote many solutions until the issue is resolved and we can return to a fast and proper service routine. This is a national mission, and we are committed to providing a targeted response that will bring about immediate change and help us deal with the challenge that lies ahead in the summer months," Arbel concluded.