Liberman: ‘Racist’ Police Reluctant to Grant Passports to Immigrants

An Israeli passport. (Flash90)

A police recommendation against passage of a bill sponsored by Yisrael Beytenu to immediately grant passports to new immigrants is “racism,” said Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, and the officers who wrote the opinion are “criminal racists.” Police, said Liberman, were “continuing to spread lies about ostensible criminal associations of Russians who live in Israel. As far as I am concerned, that is a hate crime.”

Under current Israeli law, a new immigrant is not given an Israeli passport for their first year of residence in the country; instead, they are given a passage document (laissez-passer) if they need to travel. The document may not be recognized by all governments, and even if a visa is granted to the bearer, generally the only place they can travel with it once abroad is back to Israel. The purpose of the law is to ensure that the immigrant remains in Israel and makes the country his or her main country of residence.

The Yisrael Beytenu law would change that, providing a full passport to all applicants who wish to register as Israelis and travel on. The passports would be provided to applicants who decline to accept resettlement assistance provided to new immigrants from the government.

A report on Channel Two said that police were very opposed to the law, because they believe it will be taken advantage of by criminals. “Our previous experience in this area indicates that an Israeli passport is seen as an important asset by criminals, especially criminals from the former Soviet Union,” police said in their official opinion statement, Channel Two reported. “We recommend that such immigrants not be granted a passport,” police added in their statement.

Liberman called the opinion “shocking,” adding that it was “of the worst type of racism. This is a black mark on police, showing just how prejudiced they are. They continue to persecute people from the FSU. Their racism is clear for all to see.”


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