Background: A new (civilian) face for Israel's border crossings

After 10 years of government decisions, the Ministry of Interior has finally established the Population, Immigration and Border Crossings Authority, which officially begins operations on Monday. Among other things, the authority will replace the Population Authority, which has until now dealt with matters such as granting or denying residential status to would-be immigrants. The Population Authority has also been responsible for updating the population registry, which is the official list of every citizen and resident in the country. In addition to the existing responsibilities, the new authority will also be responsible for supervising the entry and departure of all Israelis, tourists, emigrant workers and others. For the first time in the Israel's history, civilians and not policemen or border policemen will check passports at all the country's entry and departure points. The change will also guarantee that there will be one uniform computer system at all ports of entry and departure and there will be no differences in information regarding the status of those seeking to enter or leave the country according to the various ports. The authority will also be in charge of migrant workers and will be functionally responsible for the work of the Immigration Police, which is responsible for apprehending illegal workers and bringing them to the lockups where they are held until they are either expelled or granted leave to remain in the country. The new authority will also be in charge of questioning infiltrators into Israel, primarily across Israel's border with Egypt, to determine whether they qualify for temporary refugee status or whether they should be expelled as quickly as possible. Some 130 Interior Ministry employees have already been trained to screen the refugees as soon as they cross the border. Altogether, the new authority will have 1,500 to 1,800 employees, compared to the 700 currently working in the Population Authority. The head of the Population, Immigration and Border Crossings Authority will be Yaakov Ganot, who was appointed head of the Population Authority last year.