Three passengers were caught in early September with forged Israeli passports at Brussels airport in Belgium, officials have said.
The passports belonged to Israeli citizens living in Israel, and are suspected of having been stolen from their owners and doctored. Two of them were reported lost or stolen, but there was no such report concerning the third passport, possibly because its owner was not aware it was missing.
This incident is particularly concerning as one of the passengers was identified as an Iranian citizen, who could use the passport to threaten Israeli security. The other two have not yet been identified, but are thought to be Eastern European. The three were on their way to Canada, with the Iranian planning to arrive in Toronto and the others to Montreal. The fraud is being investigated by the Belgian authorities and the Population, Immigration and Border Authority is transferring the information to all relevant officials in Israel. The forged passports have obvious mistakes: On one, for example, "Tel Aviv" is written in English on one side and "Ashtali" is written in Hebrew on the opposite side instead of the Hebrew characters for Tel Aviv.
"The incident has been transferred to us for inspection," the Population, Immigration and Border Authority told Israel Hayom. "Every day, documents are transferred to Deputy Director of Administration for Border Crossings Eran Zehavi from diplomatic representatives in Israel to check their authenticity, accuracy and the details that appear on them." The Border Authority added that "this is not the first time Israeli passports were caught in foreign airports, and they are transferred to us because of the vigilance of immigration authorities worldwide."
Population, Immigration and Border Authority head Amnon Ben-Ami responded to the incident: "Again we are witnesses to the intolerable ease of forging Israeli identities. The current passport is one of the easiest in the world to forge, and increases the advantage of a smart biometric passport, which will surely reduce these occurrences and prevent altogether the occurrence of double identities."
This latest incident follows the attempt of seven Iranians to enter Vancouver, Canada with forged Israeli passports in July of this year. They had used the identities of a family of seven from the Israeli city of Rehovot. Similar errors in Hebrew spelling and translation to English were also found on those doctored passports.