IDF to probe why former Labor leader’s website was on monitoring list
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IDF to probe why former Labor leader’s website was on monitoring list

Army apologizes to Shelly Yachimovich, says she was inadvertently included in list of public domains checked for leaks of classified information

Shelly Yachimovich attends the presentation of the State Comptroller's report at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on March 14, 2018.  (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Shelly Yachimovich attends the presentation of the State Comptroller's report at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on March 14, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The army on Friday apologized to Knesset member Shelly Yachimovich after a news report this week revealed that the lawmaker’s website was being monitored by the IDF’s Information Security Department. Yachimovich, a member of the Labor party in the Zionist Union’s Knesset faction, is a former leader of Labor.

“We apologize to Member of Knesset Shelly Yachimovich for mentioning her in a tender that was issued improperly and without justification,” the IDF said in a statement posted on its website. “There was no reason or intention to monitor the Knesset member.”

The army said IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and the military advocate general would investigate the matter and submit their findings to the Knesset’s legal adviser.

On Thursday, the Haaretz daily reported that Yachimovich’s site was one of 100 websites in Israel being monitored by the army’s Information Security Department.

In its statement, the army said it tasked a private company to locate security leaks on public sites in 2014 and 2015, and that the lawmaker’s website “inappropriately” appeared on a list of example sites drafted by the company.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot at Glilot military base near Tel Aviv, March 28, 2018 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The IDF added that the monitoring in question does not target specific civilians, just a website’s public domain by running searches for keywords that could indicate leaks of classified information.

On Friday, Yachimovich said she was “deeply hurt” by the incident, but accepted the army’s apology.

“As someone who has been exposed to classified information and enjoys the overwhelming confidence of the defense establishment, I was deeply hurt by the report,” she said. “More seriously, the idea that the army is monitoring the political activity of a public official is appalling and far from Israel’s character.”

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