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Optimal synthesis, light scattering, and diffraction on a ribbon are just some of the applied problems for which integral equations with difference kernels are employed. The same equations are also met in important mathematical problems such as inverse spectral problems, nonlinear integral equations, and factorization of operators. On the basis of the operator identity method, the theory of integral operators with difference kernels is developed here, and the connection with many applied and theoretical problems is studied. A number of important examples are analyzed.