Israel has deployed 17 biometric entry gates at the Passport Control section of Ben-Gurion airport. The gates allow Israelis and tourists to pass instead via a facial recognition system, with some gates adapted for children to use. Officials hailed the deployment as positive progress towards the nation’s plans to increase take-up of its biometric passports. “This is another step in our project to promote improved service to the public,” Immigration Authority CEO Amnon Ben-Ami stated.
“The stations prove themselves every day, both with the Israeli public and with tourists.” In April, Israel’s Interior Minister Gilad Erdan announced that he will soon be forwarding legislation that would make a biometric registration mandatory for every citizen, saying that it will improve security for the state. Biometrics registration is currently undergoing a two-year pilot phase in Israel with citizens given the option of applying either for regular ID cards and passport or biometric versions. However, the Central Bureau of Statistics revealed last September that only around a third of ID card and passport applicants had opted for the biometric option.