IDF assignation of numbers to Arabs IDs sparks outcry

The IDF began over the last two weeks marking identity cards of Arabs who live next to the Jewish part of Hevron with a sticker bearing an additional number, the idea being that the card’s owner can be quickly identified as a local resident when being checked by soldiers.

The procedure has raised anger among Arab residents, who argue that Israel is the last place in the world that should give people numbers.


The procedure stemmed from a preponderance of knife terror attacks on Israelis in that part of Hevron. A month ago, the IDF decided to close the area to Arabs, excepting residents, in order to reduce friction between Arabs and Israelis as much as possible.


Residents initially had their ID numbers checked, but the process was length. This led to the decision to mark the cards with numbers to speed up the process. The numbers were issued to about 600 residents who live in the area.

“One resident who lives on Shuhada Street told the officer at the checkpoint, ‘Are you crazy? Don’t you remember history?'” local resident Issa Aamar told Ynet. “We told the officers that we are people, not numbers. We have no problem with a security check, but not in this manner.”

Shuhada Street residents are planning a protest this weekend in which they will wear large stickers bearing their assigned numbers on their chests.

The IDF spokesperson said that given the security situation, the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida was defined as a closed military area. “Numbering the ID cards is a local initiative meant to ease and speed up the inspection procedure for Arabs,” said the spokesperson. “Upon learning of the event, commanders decided to immediately remove the stickers, and alternative solutions will be examined in the coming days to streamline the checking process.”