No passport for Israeli woman with ‘naked’ photo
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No passport for Israeli woman with ‘naked’ photo

Yael Ilani, 32 from Tel Aviv, denied document because pictures showed exposed shoulders

Yael Ilani's passport photo which was rejected, left, because it showed bared shoulders (courtesy)
Yael Ilani's passport photo which was rejected, left, because it showed bared shoulders (courtesy)

A 32-year-old Tel Aviv woman recently applied for a passport, but her request was denied by the Interior Ministry because she appeared to be naked in the photo.

Yael Ilani paid the fee over the Internet and arrived Sunday to drop off the forms. She was informed a few hours later that her passport request had been turned down.

“The picture is no good, you must bring a picture in which you’re dressed,” the clerk told her over the phone.

“Two years ago I had an ID made and was wearing a strapless [top],” she told Channel 2 online. “Since then I had some leftover passport photos and I brought them today. I am really not naked in that photo.”

The clerk informed her that despite her claim, the picture was unacceptable and that if she wanted her passport before her upcoming trip abroad, she’d have to return the same day with new photos.

Interior Ministry passport regulations require “two new up-to-date, frontal, identical color photos on a light, solid background.”

“Pictures in uniform or pictures printed on a home computer, or pictures of poor quality won’t be accepted,” the regulations read. “The quality of the photos submitted are the responsibility of the submitter.”

“She said that the picture was dishonorable to me and doesn’t respect me,” the woman said, calling the ministry employees’ tone “patronizing and pedagogic.”

In the end, she had to take new pictures.

The Population and Immigration Authority responded to the story saying that passports are official documents and that photos “ought… to be respectable and appropriate.”

“Explicit dealing with this issue doesn’t appear in the regulations because we expect the public would use sound logic and understand the importance of the issue — in witness thereof, the matter rarely arises,” it said in a statement.

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