The Yesh Atid party, headed by former Finance Minister Yair Lapid, was notified by the Justice Ministry on Wednesday that it would be fined 40,000 shekels ($11,100) for misusing an official database containing the personal details of the country’s Holocaust survivors.
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Yesh Atid used the data to promote the party in the run-up to the 2015 Knesset election. The fine includes 25,000 shekels for invading the survivors’ privacy and another 15,000 for violations of provisions of the privacy protection act.
An investigation was launched following the 2015 Knesset election over suspicions that Yesh Atid had violated the law by contacting Holocaust survivors during the election campaign to promote Lapid’s work on their behalf.
An investigation was initiated by the Justice Ministry, which found that Colette Avital, a former Knesset member who is the chairwoman of the umbrella organization of Holocaust survivor groups, an NGO called the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, had provided Lapid, at his request, with sensitive information about survivors without their knowledge. The investigation revealed that the information was used by Yesh Atid in part to send campaign literature to survivors in mass mailings in the run-up to the election.
Yesh Atid said in response: “This involved a one-time mishap committed during an election campaign in good faith and without knowledge that it was improper. We take full responsibility for the mishap and are working to [ensure] that it will not happen again.”
In addition to the fine imposed on Yesh Atid, a 10,000-shekel fine was imposed on the survivor groups’ center. Its chairwoman, Avital, was also personally fined 5,000 shekels for providing the data from her organization to Yesh Atid.