Photo Credit: Tomer Neuberg / TPS
Shin Bet (ISA) director Nadav Argaman. Nov. 12, 2019

Israel’s government cabinet held a lengthy discussion Sunday on whether to authorize the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) to assist in the national effort to deal with the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.

The request for the assistance of the Shin Bet came from Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman Tov, who offered a detailed opinion on the importance of this need and its activity, as well as a legal opinion, in light of the situation regarding the pandemic.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not satisfied with the original wording of the decision, however; he asked for numerous restrictions to be added in order to reduce the scope of the information, the scope of those with access to it and to ensure the information would not be used except in the struggle against the coronavirus.

Netanyahu also directed a revised wording be submitted to him reflecting the strictures and restrictions he had asked for.

In addition, it was clarified that the Shin Bet would not take part in quarantine violation enforcement procedures vis-à-vis those in quarantine.

The authorization will be valid for no more than 30 days from the time of approval of the decision by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Subcommittee on the Secret Services.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.