Israel Has Flattened the Curve, but Still Pushes for Shin Bet Tracking of Coronavirus Patients

The Prime Minister’s Office circulated a memorandum overnight Tuesday detailing plans for legislation to allow Shin Bet tracking of coronavirus patients, which has been carried out until now under an emergency order, despite a sharp decline in confirmed cases in Israel.

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Bibi swears in his colossal coalition and readies for a courtroom showdown Haaretz

The legislation would enable authorities to trace a confirmed patient’s whereabouts, through techonological means, during the two weeks preceding the diagnosis and discern with whom they were in contact during the disease’s incubation period.

The Shin Bet conducted such tracking under emergency regulations until the High Court of Justice ruling on a petition against the practice established that such tracing must be regulated by the Knesset as a temporary measure.

The bill stipulates that if the government decides that tracing is no longer necessary, they may rescind the Shin Bet’s authority to track patients, but entitles the government to renew the practice if necessary. The law would implement a temporary measure, valid for three months, which could be extended for one additional three month period.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel said it would “act to reverse the measure in court” should it be brought to a Knesset vote. “Using the Shin Bet’s tracking capabilities for needs other than preventive security sets a dangerous, severe precedent,” it said. “It seems the outgoing government fell in love with using Shin Bet, and for months hasn’t really looked into any [civilian] alternatives,” the rights group added.

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