Top Israeli Security Delegation Lost Classified Arms Documents en Route to India

National Security Adviser's aide accused of losing documents at a restaurant before boarding a flight to India

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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Head of the Security Council Meir Ben Shabbat and members of his delegation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January.
Head of the Security Council Meir Ben Shabbat and members of his delegation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January.Credit: Twitter of the Prime Minister of Israel
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

A delegation of Israel's National Security Council headed by National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat lost classified documents on weapon deals en route to India.

The documents, left at an Israeli restaurant, were recovered by chance, and a probe carried out by the council found that their loss had not inflicted damage on Israel's security.

In January, Ben Shabbat travelled with several members of the council to India, where he met with his Indian counterpart and with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In those meetings, Ben Shabbat discussed different weapon deals between the two countries.

>> Read more: Under Modi, the 'new' India prioritizes aggression and prizes Israel's example | Opinion ■ Modi's missile dilemma: Why India keeps spiking, and reviving, a massive Israeli arms deal

According to media reports, Israel wishes to sell India several advanced weapons manufactured by defense industries, such as spy planes, unmanned aircraft, anti-tank missiles, cannons and radar systems.

Ahead of the trip, Ben Shabbat's aide printed several documents on the matter that included classified information.

Prior to boarding the plane, Ben Shabbat and his team dined at a restaurant and then, according to the investigation, the aide who printed the documents left them there.

After the delegation departed, a waiter at the restaurant found the documents. He leafed through them, realized they were related to India and contacted a friend of his whose mother works for the Israeli Embassy in India. The friend flew to India and gave her mother the documents; the mother passed them on the security officer of the embassy, who reported the incident.

Following this chain of events and at the directive of council chair Yoav Horowitz, the council launched a probe into the incident. The probe found that no dangerous entities were exposed to the contents of the documents. Ben Shabbat's aide was accused of losing the documents, and he was placed under warning. The council noted that the probe led them to draw conclusions regarding the retention of classified documents.

The Prime Minister's Office stated in response to the report: "The incident was taken care of immediately, a security investigation was carried out and lessons were learned."

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