Dozens of Israelis who traveled to Sinai claim they were forced to issue new passports after border control officials deliberately tore their valid passport. The Israel Population Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) say these accusations are baseless.

The video taken by Tal Ben Ari

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Israelis who traveled to Sinai claim their passports were torn by border control officials on the Israeli side of the Taba Border Crossing. The Israel Population Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) have rejected these claims.

Tel Ben Ari even took a video of his passport before approaching the counter, which he claims shows his passport in one piece. “I had heard about people who wrote on Facebook that their passports were torn,” he says.  “Right after I took the video, the receptionist took my passport and held it where I couldn’t see it, and then gave it back to me torn.”

Ben Ari says the official then told his passport was damaged. “I told her not to tell me any stories, because I filmed it 30 seconds ago and it was fine,” he says. “She then refused to give it back to me. I didn’t leave until her manager finally returned it.”

“I was shocked,” he says. “My friend who was behind me in line asked the receptionist to go over the passport with him, and she started to yell at him. I had never felt such disrespect at any border crossing in the world.”

Yair Hadad described a similar incident in a Facebook post. “She (the official) took the passport and messed with it under the counter. I heard a ripping sound,” he wrote. “When I opened it I saw a big tear, and when I told her about she yelled at me and called me a liar.”

PIBA said in a statement, “The claim that passports are being deliberately damaged by PIBA employees is ridiculous and completely baseless, bordering on slander. Complaining on social media is not a substitute for filing a formal complaint with the police. If such complaints have been made, we are certain that the issue will be investigated professionally.”