PM Postpones Vote on Biometric Bill

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu postponed the vote on the biometric law, scheduled for Monday.

The decision followed an afternoon meeting between the prime minister, Interior Minister Eli Yishai and MK Meir Sheetrit.

Numbers of Likud and Labor MKs said there hadn't been sufficient discussion for a vote, while human rights groups promised to petition the High Court if the legislation passed, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Sheetrit, who served as interior minister in the Olmert administration, is a strong advocate of establishing a biometric database, which would allow the Interior Ministry to deport people living in Israel illegally.

"The protection provided for this data bank is among the best in the world," said Sheetrit, who began working on the legislation when he served as interior minister.

If the Knesset passes the bill, the Interior Ministry would have the authority to fingerprint and take facial contours of all Israeli citizens.

The information would be embedded on a microchip and included on identity cards, passports and other documentation, making Israel one of the only democracies in the world with a system like this.

Meanwhile, Yishai told participants at the Sderot Conference that he stands behind his decision to deport 1,200 children of laborers who are in the country illegally.

According to Yishai, government ministers and members of Knesset "without exception" favor deporting the children.

"Israel is a state for Jewish immigration," he said.

Yishai also believes that most of the Africans crossing into Israel from Egypt are looking for work and are not really refugees, a position held by Sheetrit when he was interior minister.

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Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news

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