Nearly a decade after the idea was first broached, Hebrew dates will be added to Israeli driver’s licenses. Starting next month, all new licenses and renewals will include the Gregorian date of the driver’s birth and expiration date of the license, as well as the parallel Hebrew calendar dates.
The Hebrew dates will automatically be included on all licenses, but drivers will be allowed to object and request that their license not include the dates. The law to issue licenses was approved by the Knesset in 2015, but was not implemented until now in order to enable the Ministry of Transportation to enable officials to determine that the new license will still be accepted as an international license, as it is now.
The move to include the Hebrew dates on licenses received a major impetus a decade ago, when attorney Roni Paluch successfully got a traffic court to dismiss a case against a driver who violated rules requiring a companion to be present in the vehicle for his first two years on the road. Paluch claimed that his client had not violated the law by driving alone because even though two years had not passed from the date of issue of the license on the Gregorian calendar, the two-year anniversary had passed when the Hebrew date was taken into account.
As the Transportation Ministry, like all other government ministries, is obligated to include the Hebrew date on all documents, Paluch argued that the ministry was in violation of the law because the Hebrew date was not included on the official license issued by the ministry – and the court agreed. Since then, the Knesset has considered several laws requiring the Hebrew dates to be included on licenses.