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The Schmooze

Coming Soon: Israel’s Biometric ID Cards

Biometric identity cards — cards carrying a computer chip with biographical information like a photo, fingerprints, signature, and date of birth — were controversial from the moment they were first mentioned. Now Israel is finally ready to issue them, the local media reports.

We have known this was coming since the run up to the vote on the so-called biometric law, which passed in December. The Forward reported almost two years ago about concerns that were being voiced. But there’s one bizarre detail that has only just come to light.

The Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot reported yesterday that the serial numbers on the new cards will begin at six million — an act of commemoration for the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, who would have had the right to Israeli citizenship had they been alive for the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

This move is likely to spark a row, with some seeing it as an apt act of commemoration and others viewing it as a distasteful projection of Zionism onto Holocaust victims — many of whom were opposed to Zionism.

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