In June 2017, the Knesset Science and Technology Committee devoted a hearing to the cyber threat against Israel’s elections. Experts assured lawmakers that ballots are not under threat because the Central Elections Committee has an independent, closed-circuit system that cannot be hacked. “We decided not to go over to computerized voting, mostly because of what happened in the US presidential election,” an Israeli source close to the elections committee told Al-Monitor. “We would rather count the votes [by hand] at a slower pace, and ascertain that there is no possible infiltration of a computerized system by external elements.”Full Article: Israeli elections exposed to cyber manipulations.
Articles about voting issues in the State of Israel.
Israel: Election law ‘screams out’ for update to thwart online abuse, judge warns | The Times of Israel
The chairman of the Central Elections Committee on Thursday appealed to the Israeli media to help protect the April 9 national elections from illicit foreign interference by, among other precautions, refusing to report news from anonymous sources. Supreme Court Judge Hanan Melcer said current election law, which does not extend to digital media the basic transparency requirements that have long been applied to traditional media, “screams out” to be updated. But in the absence of such a change, local media needed to take additional care, Melcer said, to prevent the spread of stories that were unsubstantiated and possibly malicious and false. (The ruling Likud party has to date been preventing the necessary unanimous agreement among existing Knesset parties to extend those requirements voluntarily.) Addressing a press conference at the Knesset called one day before the onset of the 60 day period during which, according to law, the media is banned from facilitating election propaganda, Melcer said journalists should employ their instincts and common sense when it came to any material, notably including survey results, that looked odd.Full Article: Israel election law 'screams out' for update to thwart online abuse, judge warns | The Times of Israel.
Israel: Facebook Introduces Election Protection Features to Israel’s Central Elections Committee | CTech
Two months ahead of Israel’s general election, Facebook’s global politics and government outreach director Katie Harbath met Sunday with Israel’s Central Elections Committee, the committee announced Monday. The meeting took place following correspondence between the committee and Facebook concerning the ways in which the social media company is planning to increase transparency ahead of the Israeli election process. In the meeting, Facebook representatives reiterated the company’s plans to launch special features in Israel in March, including the association of political ads with the advertising page, and the launch of a political ad archive. Facebook will also prevent users from posting political ads from outside the country.Full Article: Facebook Introduces Election Protection Features to Israel’s Central Elections Committee - CTech.
Amy Spiro is one of many Israeli journalists who recently received a direct message on her Twitter account linking to a sensational news story. The sender, using the Jewish-sounding name “Bina Melamed”, directed her to a fake story falsely alleging former Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman was a Russian spy. “I just ignored it until I saw a lot of other people were talking about it,” said Spiro, who works for the Jerusalem Post. She avoided falling victim to the ruse, but four Israeli journalists — hoodwinked by the article appearing on a rogue but convincing duplicate of Harvard University’s website — spread the story, before it was exposed.Full Article: Israel seeks to beat election cyber bots.
Israel: Coalition of diplomats, programmers working to beat election cyber bots | The Times of Israel
Numerous Israeli journalists recently received direct messages on their Twitter accounts linking to a sensational news story. The sender, using the Jewish-sounding name “Bina Melamed,” directed them to a fake story falsely alleging former Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman was a Russian spy. Four Israeli journalists — hoodwinked by the article appearing on a rogue but convincing duplicate of Harvard University’s website — spread the story, before it was exposed. Bina Melamed, which turned out to be a fake account operating from Turkey, has become a cause celebre of attempts to propagate fake news in Israel through bots. And cases of cyber sabotage are rising, ahead of April elections.Full Article: Coalition of Israeli diplomats, programmers working to beat election cyber bots | The Times of Israel.
Twitter suspended 61 accounts linked to foreign fake news manipulation campaigns aimed at the Israeli public, ahead of the April 9 election. The move brings to 343 the number of accounts suspended by Twitter since election was announced last month, Elad Ratson of Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry tweeted on Monday. Ratson is the ministry’s director of research and development. The new group of 61 accounts had a total of more than 28,000 followers, and most of them were in English. Meanwhile, Facebook announced in a statement on Monday that it would launch in various countries, including Israel, “additional tools to help prevent foreign interference and make political and issue advertising on Facebook more transparent.” Advertisers will need to be authorized to purchase political ads; Facebook will give people more information about ads related to politics and issues; and it will create a publicly searchable library of these ads for up to seven years, the statement said.Full Article: Twitter suspends accounts spreading fake news to Israelis ahead of election - Israel News - Haaretz.com.
Governments around the world must join forces to detect the sources of foreign cyberattacks aimed at impacting elections and prevent such intervention in the future, Israel Democracy Institute and Hebrew University researchers said Sunday. They spoke after Russian cyberattacks reportedly impacted elections in the US, France and Germany and in the British referendum on exiting the European Union. The researchers from IDI and the Law and Cyber Program at the Federman Center for Cyber Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem spoke at IDI on the subject of cyberattacks and foreign intervention in the April 9 election. They issued recommendations for implementing policies and regulating the chain of command between law enforcement agencies on this issue. The ability of hackers to attack has improved, and it is easier than ever for them to obtain their tools, which makes them even more dangerous,” said former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) technological division head Ron Shamir.Full Article: Experts call for international cooperation against election cyber attacks - Israel News - Jerusalem Post.
As Israeli elections approach, the country’s cyber-security watchdogs are warning about attempts by foreign actors to disrupt and manipulate this essential democratic process. The issue came to the fore earlier in January, when the head of the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency, Nadav Argaman, reportedly told a closed-door conference that a “foreign state is planning to intervene in the elections. I don’t know at this stage in favor of whom or at whose detriment,” the intelligence chief said, adding, “I know what I’m talking about.” Thought Argaman did not mention it by name, Russia responded days later through a Kremlin spokesman, who stated that Moscow does not intervene in the elections of other countries and even advised others to refrain “from reading the Israeli media.”Full Article: With elections approaching, is Israel prepared for foreign cyber threat? | JNS.org.
Israel: Likud refuses to back rules to block online voter manipulation in elections | The Times of Israel
Days after it was revealed that the Shin Bet security agency has intelligence proving that a foreign country intends to influence the April election via online meddling, the Likud party said on Tuesday that it would block proposed measures to prevent such voter manipulation and similar attempts by Israeli internet operatives. Responding to a plea from the Central Elections Committee chairman, Supreme Court Judge Hanan Melcer, Likud party pushed back against all efforts to apply at least basic transparency standards on online campaigning. That rejection, charged an Israeli expert on internet legislation and election manipulation, appears to signal that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party plans to make use of dubious methods that gained prominence in the 2016 US presidential elections.Full Article: Likud refuses to back rules to block online voter manipulation in elections | The Times of Israel.
Israel: Months before Shin Bet warning, Israeli cyber chief cautioned of election interferene | Haaretz
Israel’s National Cyber Directorate warned that cyber attacks could influence the outcome of the upcoming Israeli election last October, nearly three months prior to a similar statement made by the head of the Shin Bet security service. The threat is the stream of assaults on state facilities, Yigal Unna said at a conference on high tech at the Sha’arei Mishpat Academic Center of Law and Science in Hod Hasharon, which was also attended by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Israel Defense Forces’ outgoing Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.Full Article: Months before Shin Bet warning, Israeli cyber chief cautioned of election interference - Israel Election 2019 - Haaretz.com.
Israel: Tel Aviv Spy Agency Claims Russia Trying To Interfere In Coming Israeli Elections | Eurasia Review
Despite Russia’s denial of any involvement in the upcoming Israeli elections, with a senior Moscow official saying that people should not read the Israeli media, intelligence sources in Tel Aviv announced there were several indications for such intervention, adding that Israel’s cyber army fended off several attacks. Director of the Shin Bet domestic security service Nadav Argaman discussed the issue, saying security forces were concerned about foreign interference that could affect the Knesset elections’ outcome. Speaking at a Friends of Tel Aviv University conference, Argaman said that a foreign country intended to launch cyber attacks in order to influence Israel’s general elections. The issue is considered an internal matter, however, several journalists attending the conference reported the news, which prompted the military censorship to issue an order banning the publication of Argaman’s statement. The military gag was later lifted when reporters threatened of filing a lawsuit, though the naming of the country in question is still prohibited.Full Article: Tel Aviv Spy Agency Claims Russia Trying To Interfere In Coming Israeli Elections – Eurasia Review.
Israel: Admitting flaws, election committee ‘devising plan’ to thwart foreign meddling | The Times of Israel
Israel’s Central Elections Committee said Wednesday that it is devising a detailed plan of action to thwart attempts by foreign countries to meddle in the April 9 Knesset elections, following a reported alert from the head of the Shin Bet security agency that such attempts are being made by a country that cannot be named by orders from the military censor. “Together with security bodies, we learned what happened in other countries and we are devising a plan of action,” the body in charge of organizing the national ballot said in a statement. The statement came a day after reports that Shin Bet chief Nadav Argamon had warned a foreign state “intends to intervene” through cyberattacks in Israel’s elections. The name of the state was gagged by the military censor.Full Article: Admitting flaws, election committee 'devising plan' to thwart foreign meddling | The Times of Israel.
Israel’s Shin Bet security service assured the public Wednesday it was well prepared to thwart any foreign intervention in the country’s upcoming elections, after its director warned a world power was making such efforts. The statement followed reports that Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman recently told a closed audience that a foreign country was trying to intervene in the April elections and that operatives were trying to meddle via hackers and cyber technology. “The Shin Bet would like to make clear that the state of Israel and the intelligence community have the tools and capabilities to identify, monitor and thwart foreign influence efforts, should there be any,” it said. “The Israeli defense apparatus is able to guarantee democratic and free elections are held in Israel.” Argaman did not say for whose benefit the alleged meddling was being done. Initial reports about his comments were placed under a military gag order that was later lifted, though the naming of the country is question is still prohibited.Full Article: Israel says it can foil foreign election meddling amid scare - ABC News.
It’s Election Day April 9 and you’re told when you come to cast your ballot, “Sorry, you don’t appear on the voter rolls – you can’t vote.” Before that you’ve been deluged by text messages from a candidate, but they’ve been sent by his rivals in the hope you’ll protest the annoyance by voting against. The next day, the Central Elections Committee says it’s having trouble collecting the results. These things may not happen when Israelis go to the polls, but the odds are growing that at least some of them will. More than at any time in the past, Israel’s election system is exposed to a cybersecurity risk during the campaigning, including the process of vote counting. The Israeli cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies has crafted a study noting the likely threats based on the experience of other countries’ elections in recent years and suggests steps Israel can take to prevent them.Full Article: The main cyber threats against Israel's upcoming election - Israel Election 2019 - Haaretz.com.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fought to save his tottering government after his defense minister’s resignation, pinning his hopes on a crucial meeting Sunday with a wavering coalition ally. Netanyahu is set to meet with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who has urged the prime minister to go for early elections after Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s departure last week left the government in control of just 61 out of 120 parliamentary seats. It’s not possible to govern with such a narrow coalition, which will be subject to constant pressures from its partners, Kahlon said in an interview Saturday on Hadashot News. Still, he said he would keep an open mind for Sunday’s meeting with Netanyahu. “Maybe he’ll pull a rabbit out of his hat,” Kahlon said. “Although for a long time it seems there has been no rabbit and no hat.”Full Article: Israel's Netanyahu Struggles to Stave Off Election Pressure - Bloomberg.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced calls on Thursday from his coalition partners to hold an early election, a day after the defense minister’s resignation left the government with a razor-thin majority. Avigdor Lieberman quit on Wednesday over what he described as the government’s too-soft policy on cross-border violence with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. The loss of the five seats of Lieberman’s Israel Beitenu faction leaves Netanyahu with control of just 61 of the 120 seats in parliament, raising the prospect that a scheduled November 2019 election would be brought forward. Lieberman’s resignation takes effect 48 hours after being handed in, which he did early on Thursday. Each coalition partner will then have the power to bring down the government.Full Article: Netanyahu faces snap election calls after defense minister quits | Reuters.
Israel: East Jerusalem’s 360,000 residents to get just 6 polling stations in local vote | The Times of Israel
The Jerusalem municipality plans to open only six polling stations in the predominantly Arab eastern part of the city for October’s mayoral election, sparking charges that officials are trying to keep Arab residents from voting — as the eastern sector of the city has some 360,000 residents. Jewish neighborhoods, which represent most of the city’s voters, will have more than 180 stations, Haaretz reported Thursday. Each polling station in a Jewish neighborhood will serve approximately 2,000 voters, as opposed to the 40,000 voters expected to use each polling station in Arab neighborhoods. Three polling stations will be opened in the mixed Arab-Jewish neighborhood of Beit Safafa, which means that the final three stations for Arab voters, located in the Old City, Sheikh Jarrah and Jabal Mukkaber, will each serve some 80,000 residents.Full Article: East Jerusalem's 360,000 residents to get just 6 polling stations in local vote | The Times of Israel.
Israel is on guard against hacking ahead of the next general election, one of its most senior cyber security officials said, identifying Iran as posing the greatest overall risk to the country’s cyber security. The government is bracing against the risks of fake news, possible denial of service attacks on civic institutions, or efforts to hack the correspondence of politicians or government officials in order to leak embarrassing details. “We are on the way to identifying and assisting from a distance everywhere we find or identify as a vulnerability … and make it tougher for the bad guys to hack,” Yigal Unna, head of technology at the prime minister’s cyber directorate, told a Reuters Cyber Security Summit. Since the 2016 U.S. election, Western countries have been fretting about the possibility of Russian hacking to influence their internal politics.Full Article: Tel Aviv - Israel Eyes Measures To Prevent Election Cyber Sabotage.
Fear of moderate and centrist members who have joined Likud could cause anyone who has joined the party recently to not be able to choose the party’s next Knesset list, Likud officials said Sunday. The party has embarked on a series of steps against the so-called New Likudniks, a group of centrists who want the party to become more moderate and return to values they say existed when Likud was led by then-prime minister Menachem Begin and are no longer prevalent in the party.Full Article: Likud to lengthen waiting period for voting - Israel News - Jerusalem Post.
Israel: To avoid cyber attacks, Israel urged to manually count election results | Middle East Monitor
Israel’s National Cyber Authority is expected to recommend the manual counting of votes in future elections in order to prevent cyber attacks “following recent attempts to meddle with elections in the West,” the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported yesterday. Formed 18 months ago, the authority is working on a “defence plan” against possible meddling in Israeli elections through cyber attacks similar to what recently took place in the United States, France and Ukraine. The plan will recommend that votes continue to be counted manually in Israel, as they always have, even if this is an “outdated method”.Full Article: To avoid cyber attacks, Israel urged to manually count election results – Middle East Monitor.