Shin Bet Head Warns of Foreign Influence on Israel’s Elections

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Photo by Hillel Maeir/TPS on 9 January, 2019

Shin Bet Head Warns of Foreign Influence on Israel’s Elections

 

 

By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 9 January, 2019

The head of Israel’s domestic security agency warned that a “foreign country” may try to influence the upcoming elections in Israel.

Speaking at a closed meeting for Friends Tel Aviv University on Tuesday night, Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) chief Nadav Argaman warned that a “foreign country” may attempt to influence the outcome of Israel’s April elections through cyber manipulation and hacking.

Argaman reportedly said that he did not know for sure which country would attempt to influence the outcome of the elections, but that such an attempt would surely be made.

He also reportedly named a specific country which would probably attempt to influence the elections, but the Israeli military censorship has banned the publication of the name of the country.

Etai Baron, deputy head of the Institute for National Security Studies (INAA) and a former IDF general, told IDF Radio that Iran was a suspect.

“We saw an Iranian effort this year to influence both Israel and the US,” Baron said, reassuring that Israel understands the implications of such an attempt and that the warning that Argaman issued will help the media examine the information it receives and will raise public awareness of such possible manipulations.

Following Argaman’s warning, the Shin Bet issued a statement clarifying “that the State of Israel and the intelligence community have the tools and capabilities to locate, monitor and thwart attempts of foreign influence if there are any. The Israeli defense establishment has the ability to enable the existence of democratic and free elections in the State of Israel.”

Yaacov Perry, a former Shin Bet head, said that Russia, Iran, Turkey, China, and even terror groups would have an interest in influencing the elections, but that Israel has outstanding cyber defense capabilities.

“There are countries that want us to leave the territories (Judea and Samaria) or change our trading system and try to influence public opinion, and the head of the Shin Bet has a serious basis to assume that this is the case,” he told IDF Radio on Wednesday.

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