Knesset Approves Proposal to Split Shin Bet Phone Tracking Bill

MK Zvi Hauser. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The Knesset plenum approved Monday evening the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s proposal to divide the bill authorizing the Shin Bet to assist in the national effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The committee’s proposal sets more limited criteria than the government-sponsored bill for using the Shin Bet’s surveillance of coronavirus-infected citizens using mobile phone and credit card data. The committee’s version of the legislation limits the program to three weeks, during which the committee will seek to conclude its deliberations and approve a long-term bill to regulate the issue.

“We asked to divide the bill and allow, in the first phase, a discussion with the intent to approve, today, an effective tool for the Health Ministry to use in the fight against the coronavirus and block the outbreak of the pandemic through limited use of the Shin Bet tool, and to have [the use of this tool] regulated, [or allow its use in specific cases or with a clear, objective criterion], and on the other hand allow the Knesset to hold a debate on the complete law in a complete and worthy manner,” Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Zvi Hauser (Derech Eretz) said.

The proposal passed by a vote of 46 MKs in favor to 25 against.

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