Gantz Denies Sex Tape After Iranians Hack Phone

Benny Gantz reassured members of Kahol Lavan, his political alliance with Yair Lapid, following a report by Israel’s Channel 12 on Thursday that Iran hacked his cellphone, saying that there are no sex tapes of him.

The former army chief is scheduled to address the report in a press conference at 4:30 P.M. local time on Friday, Kahol Lavan announced.

According to the report by journalist Amit Segal, Gantz was approached by two officials from Israel’s Shin Ben security service five weeks ago, during the election campaign, and was informed that his private device was breached. The two told Gantz that the hack into one of his devices occured around that time, during the election campaign, and that the Iranians have the content of his phone.

>> Analysis: Iranian hacking of Gantz’s phone could open door to blackmail – and impact Israel’s election

Kahol Lavan confirmed the report in an official statement that read: "We don’t comment on issues that are at the heart of state security. It is important to emphasize that this incident happened four years after Gantz finished his tenure as chief of staff, [a fact] that raises many questions regarding the timing of the report’s publication."

The news report said that the Shin Bet officials clarified to the ex-Israel Defense Forces chief that this meant Tehran had access to all kinds of information he may have stored on his phone: personal and professional. Gantz was also informed that this served as a potential security risk, seeing as Iran might unveil information it finds on his cellphone after the election, or tamper with the election process. 

Should Gantz win the election, the Shin Bet officials clarified, this could endanger him and Israel’s security. However, the former general was told that he could "proceed according to his own judgement." 

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Due to the sensitivity of the report, Segal noted that the Israeli censor approved the publication of the information before he went on air. 

The Shin Bet did not comment on the report.

In January, Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman said that a foreign country intends to intervene in Israel’s upcoming election via hackers and cybertechnology. Argaman said it remains unclear at this point what the foreign nation’s political interests are, but that "It will meddle – and I know what I’m talking about."