Majority of Israelis Fear Election Will Be Manipulated Through Cyber Attacks

An international poll also reveals that respondents from Israel and Russia are the most optimistic about their countries’ preparedness for a major cyber attack

Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
Washington
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Many Israelis are afraid cyber attacks will tamper with the upcoming election.
Many Israelis are afraid cyber attacks will tamper with the upcoming election.Credit: Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters
Amir Tibon
Amir Tibon
Washington

WASHINGTON - An international poll released on Wednesday shows that more than 60% of Israelis fear cyber attacks and manipulations could influence the upcoming Israeli election.

The poll by the Pew Research Center was conducted in the spring of 2018, but was coincidentally released a day after the head of Israel’s internal intelligence agency, the Shin Bet, warned about attempts by a “foreign power” to intervene in Israel’s April 2019 parliamentary election.

>> Massive manipulation, foreign influence campaign and cyber: The threats to Israel's election

The Pew poll was conducted in 26 countries last year. It asked citizens of those countries how likely it was, in their eyes, that their countries’ elections would be tampered with by means of a cyber attack. In Israel, 21% of respondents said it was “very likely”, and another 40 percent said it was “somewhat likely” to happen. Only 35 percent , combined, said it was either “somewhat unlikely” or “very unlikely” to happen.

For comparison, in the United States 45 percent said it was “very likely” that their countries’ election would be tampered with, and in the United Kingdom 34 percent of respondents chose this option. In Russia, on the other hand, only 14 percent said election tampering was “very likely” to happen and another 28 percent chose “somewhat likely.”

The poll also included questions about possible cyber attacks against major infrastructure in respondents’ countries, and about how well-prepared local governments were for such attacks. The editors of the poll noted that overall, among the 26 countries surveyed, the respondents from Israel and Russia were the most optimistic about their countries’ level of preparedness for a major cyber attack.

The editors wrote that “Two-thirds or more in Israel (73%) and Russia (67%), for example, say their nations are ready for a major cyber incident, while fewer than one-in-five Brazilians (16%) and Argentines (9%) say the same. In the United States, just over half of Americans (53%) think their country is prepared to handle a major cyberattack.”

On Monday, the head of Israel's Shin Bet security service Nadav Argaman said that a foreign country intends to intervene in Israel's upcoming election via hackers and cybertechnology. He said that it remains unclea what the foreign nation's political interests are, but that "It will meddle – and I know what I'm talking about."

Although Argaman did not name the suspect foreign country, Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov made a statement on Wednesday that Moscow "did not intervene, does not intervene and does not intend to intervene in elections in any country in the world."

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage

Flame and smoke rise during an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza City August 6, 2022.

Israel Should End Gaza Operation Now, if It Can