The Interior Ministry's appointment-free passport offices opened on Sunday morning in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beersheba, drawing major lines in Tel Aviv.
The offices will be open until 10 p.m. every day for a month, and citizens will not be required to make an appointment.
An extra new office dedicated only to passports and requiring appointments was also opened in Bnei Brak.
As of 10 a.m., on Sunday, 1,173 people had already been seen in all four offices. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv had the most traffic with more than 280 people each by that point and Haifa and Beersheba had seen 243 and 261 people respectively.
Interior Minister Arbel calls for patience
Interior Minister Moshe Arbel sent out a message to Israel's citizens on Sunday morning as the project, dubbed "Passport Marathon", began.
"For two years, the State of Israel has been facing a passports crisis," he wrote. "The difficulty in making an appointment to issue passports in the Population Authority offices has become unbearable for many citizens. At the beginning of the year, former interior minister Arye Deri presented the solution at the top of the ministry's priorities, and this week we are starting Operation Passport Marathon to change the trend."
Arbel added that he had visited the offices and was convinced that all the employees were determined to help the citizens.
"It's important to us that whoever wants to fly during the summer holiday and doesn't have a valid passport will have time to get a new one," he wrote.
Arbel ended by warning that the ministry was expecting long lines and waiting times and asked people to be prepared to wait for hours.
"When you get to the offices, be patient, respect others and keep calm."Interior Minister Moshe Arbel
"When you get to the offices, be patient, respect others and keep calm," he wrote. "We are doing this for you. Together, we will make the much-needed change."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the operation in the government's weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
"I congratulate Interior Minister Moshe Arbel on the pilot that begins today in which all of Israel's citizens will be able to renew passports in the four biggest offices of the Population Authority in the country," he said. "With this, we are beginning to fix the failure of the last two years in which citizens waited months to get an appointment. Yes, I know there are still appointments, but we are on the way to a solution. It's a very important achievement and a much-needed correction."