Israeli government panel blocks use of Shin Bet to track coronavirus patients
An Israeli government panel tasked with managing the coronavirus crisis green-lighted a bill that would write into law the government’s authority to impose emergency regulations and froze a bill that would allow the Shin Bet security agency to track confirmed and suspected coronavirus patients. The latter move may end the Israeli government’s use of the secret service’s capabilities for combatting the pandemic. Shin Bet’s head, Nadav Argaman, reportedly told ministers that his defence agency should not be involved in a civilian issue and suggested using civilian tools like the “HaMagen” app instead. Israel is seeing a spike in infections, and as a result has paused easing restrictions. The Health Ministry told the Knesset subcommittee for intelligence that it had only asked Shin Bet for assistance once in the previous two weeks, when it requested cellular tracking data to locate people who had been in contact with a confirmed patient.
Writer: Noa Landau and Jonathan Lis