Israeli Military to Probe Why Lawmaker's Website Was on Monitoring List

Following Haaretz report on monitoring of some 100 sites, IDF says monitoring does not target specific individuals

File photo: MK Shelly Yacimovich on March 21, 2017.
Moti Milrod

The military issued an apology on Friday after Haaretz reported that lawmaker Shelly Yacimovich's website was among some 100 on a list of sites monitored by Israel Defense Forces' information-security department.

The military's chief of staff and the military advocate general will investigate and submit its findings to the Knesset's legal adviser, the military said. 

"Following an article published in Haaretz, we apologize to Member of Knesset Shelly Yacimovich for mentioning her in a tender that was issued improperly and without justification," read a statement from the IDF. "There was no reason to and no intention to monitor the member of Knesset." The military said Thursday that it issued a tender that led to a contract with a company providing the monitoring service.

On Thursday, Haaretz reported that the IDF had been monitoring social media posts, blogs, articles and forums involving public figures, social affairs groups, companies that supply cloud services, and the websites of soccer fans and satirists.

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According to the military, the goal was to locate security leaks solely on public sites. "The tender for supplying the service, of which parts were taken from a document that was drafted by a private company in 2014-2015, inappropriately presents examples of individuals and sites," read its statement. "In practice, the monitoring does not target specific civilians, including members of Knesset and public figures, but rather the public domain, by searching keywords that might indicate leaks of classified information."

Yacimovich said she was "deeply hurt" by the report. "Even worse, the idea that an army is monitoring an elected representative's political activity is an appalling idea that is far from being in line with Israel's character."