Following marathon deliberations and after adding restrictive amendments as well as means of oversight and supervision, the Israeli parliament's temporary committee for Israel Security Agency (ISA) affairs approved the government's decision to authorize the ISA to aid the effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus for a month, until April 30. The chairman, IDF Lieut. Gen. (res) Gabi Ashkenazi, said the committee will maintain the proper balance between the need to protect public health and protection of the right to privacy of the citizens of Israel as much as possible.
"We are in the midst of the coronavirus crisis that is affecting Israel and the world. Today we completed a long process that started in the final hours of the formation of the 22nd Knesset, and continued from last Thursday until today (March 31). We held the deliberations exceptionally in a manner open to the public so there could be complete transparency, except for one part in which the precision and operation of the technological means were presented to the committee. The committee maintained the proper balance between the need to protect public health and protection of the right to privacy of the citizens of Israel as much as possible. We reduced the transfer of data to the minimum required," the chairman said.
The subcommittee will continue its supervision and receive a report every six days on the data handed over by the ISA to the Health Ministry. The decision will be in effect until April 30. Ashkenazi called on the government to find alternatives to the current situation, or to present the subcommittee with an official report that explains why there is no other alternative. Those who participated in the deliberations included the director-general of the Health Ministry as well as representatives of the ISA, the Justice Ministry, the Israel Police, the National Security Council and citizen organizations.