Photo Credit: Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90
PA Arab workers enter Israel through the Mitar checkpoint in Hebron, May 3, 2020.

Hackers have succeeded in breaking into the IDF’s Civil Administration computer that issues entry and work permits to residents of the Palestinian Authority, and dispensed thousands of unauthorized yet perfectly passable permits, Israel Hayom reported Wednesday, citing sources in the construction industry (which is ultimately the main employer of PA Arab workers – DI).

It is suspected that criminals who are scalping work permits to PA Arab day laborers have broken into the IDF system, identified files of contractors who do not employ workers from the Palestinian Authority, and illegally registered hundreds of workers in the names of these employers. This allowed them to scalp those work permits, offering Arab workers a way to enter Israel illegally.


Beyond the fact that this is a criminal offense, and the workers are consequently employed without insurance, the practice poses danger to Israel’s security.

The Employer Website operated by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) started operating in September 2021. The suspicion arose among contractors after they had recently received notifications from the Population and Immigration Authority that they were late in turning in the information needed to create payslips for their PA workers.

By law, the Population Authority issues the payslips and not the employer.

After an investigation, it turned out the contractors in question had long since stopped employing PA Arab workers.

The CEO of the Contractors Association, Amnon Merhav, has written Defense Minister Benny Gantz, COGAT commander Ghassan Alian, and head of the cyber array, Gabi Portnoy: “This is the third hacking known to us over a few months, and it has the potential to damage the security of the state and involves serious criminal offenses.”

A veteran contractor told Israel Hayom that in recent years he had been winding down his activity and limited his hiring to three to five workers at a time. Two years ago, the employer’s file in his name was suspended. But out of the blue, he recently received notification that he was employing 94 PA Arab workers. He contacted the government employment authority, told them it was a mistake and asked to cancel all the employees registered in his name.

The next day he received an email from the Coordination and Liaison Directorate (DCO – the military body that gives final approval to the entry permits of PA workers), with 312 names of PA Arab workers whose entry permit to Israel was revoked as per his request.

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David writes news at