What is Israel's Central Elections Committee doing against interference?

The vast majority of votes in Israel are counted by hand.

January 9, 2019 17:23
1 minute read.
Elections 2019

Elections 2019. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Central Elections Committee is aware of threats, whether from cyber-attacks or disinformation, and has taken steps to protect the elections from them, committee Director-General Orly Ades said Wednesday.  

Following Shin Bet Chief Nadav Argaman’s warning that foreign government is trying to intervene in the election, Ades explained the committee is working “the protect the integrity of the elections, to truly reflect the will of the voters.”

“These topics are on the committee’s agenda,” Ades said. “The committee takes action in cooperation with the relevant professional bodies in Israel, including the National Cybersecurity Authority.”

The committee, along with security officials, studied examples of interventions in other countries in recent years, and is working on an outline that includes ensuring greater awareness in the different bodies taking part in the election.

Some of the steps being taken must remain confidential for security reasons, Ades said.

Ades also pointed out that the vast majority of votes in Israel are counted by hand.

“This process is independent, supervised and mostly not computerized, and therefore, there is not a great chance of it being disrupted,” she said. “For those few areas in which there is computerization and cybersecurity efforts are necessary, the committee will be helped by various security bodies and experts.”

As for disinformation on social media, Ades said she and Central Elections Committee chairman, Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer met with senior Facebook officials, including Director of Policy for Facebook Israel Jordana Cutler and Lead for Politics and Government Outreach for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Facebook Sean Evins.

During the meeting, they discussed expected challenges in the upcoming election.

Melcer has the power to decide if an election-related message is illegal and to order it be taken down.

Also Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “Israel is prepared to fight any cybernetic intervention. We are ready for any scenario. There is no country more ready than we are.”

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