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Shin Bet to probe background check process after Gantz’s house cleaner arrested

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks at an event launching a Knesset caucus dedicated to the Abraham Accords, in Jerusalem, on October 11, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks at an event launching a Knesset caucus dedicated to the Abraham Accords, in Jerusalem, on October 11, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Shin Bet security service says it has formed a committee to investigate how it performs background checks on people who work closely with senior officials, after Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s house cleaner was arrested for allegedly offering to spy on him for an Iran-linked hacking group.

“Obviously the process that was carried out failed in this specific case, which needed to be identified in advance in order to not allow a person like this to work in the close vicinity of the defense minister,” Shin Bet officials say in a statement.

The employee, Omri Goren, had been convicted of a number of serious crimes prior to his employment by Gantz, including two convictions for bank robbery, as well as theft and breaking-and-entering.

Goren was hired before Gantz became defense minister, and the Shin Bet appears to have never looked into his personal history.

“A reconsideration of the security assessment processes will be conducted regarding workers surrounding protected people. Lessons have already been learned. We are accordingly putting together new protocols and work methods that will give us a better response to the level of threat and potential for damage,” the Shin Bet officials say.

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