The Shin Bet hacked the phones of anti-Netanyahu protesters on suspicion they sought to break into the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, Channel 13 news reports.
The report said the security agency was granted authorization to read messages on the demonstrators’ phones and search their homes after a number of protesters breached a police barricade outside the compound last week, with Netanyahu and his wife Sara reportedly moved to a safe room.
The protesters had no intention to break into the residence but wanted to tie themselves to fence outside, according to the network.
“The Shin Bet acts in accordance with the law to safeguard the country’s security, democratic governmental order and institutions. If any threat of this type is identified, the Shin Bet will act in accordance with the tools at its disposal in accordance [with] the law,” the security service said in response.
The Black Flags and Crime Minister protest groups slammed the Shin Bet over the report.
“It seems the complete chaos at Balfour and the fear of the democratic protest that will topple the corrupt also penetrated the Shin Bet,” the Crime Minister said, referring to Netanyahu’s trial on graft charges.
In a separate report, Channel 12 news quoted a police source criticizing the decision to move the Netanyahus to a safe room.
“There was no justification because there was no danger of a break-in by protesters,” the source said. “The demonstrators didn’t break through any barricade, but didn’t listen to the instructions of the officers to move away.”
The reports came as weekly anti-Netanyahu protests were held outside the Prime Minister’s Residence on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street and elsewhere across Israel.