Shin Bet Authorized to Assist in Epidemiological Investigations Until January

israel coronavirus lockdown
A roadblock last week in the central Israeli town of Ramle. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee approved on Sunday a bill authorizing the Shin Bet to assist in the national efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Under the terms of the bill, which will be valid until January 20, 2021, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz will present to the government a proposal to grant the Shin Bet this authorization for a period that shall not exceed 21 days. The authorization may be extended. Following the government’s approval, the decision will be transferred to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Once the security agency obtains the authorization, the Health Ministry will be permitted to transfer to the Shin Bet a request for assistance in conducting an epidemiological investigation, provided that the number of new patients on the day the request is submitted, or the day prior to that, surpasses 200.

Within the framework of the legislation, the Committee obligated the Health Ministry to launch the HaMagen 2.0 civilian application for tracking coronavirus patients within a week from the bill’s approval in the Knesset plenum​, distribute the app and promote its use by the general public.

The bill also determines that anyone who receives a message saying he/she is obligated to go into self-quarantine may ask the Health Ministry to re-examine the data on which the decision was based. The Health Ministry will be required to send a detailed response within 24 hours.

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