In the four months since the COVID-19 crisis fully broke in Israel, there have been many innovative tools that the state has used to fight the spread of the virus. The IDF and defense establishment have been mobilized and coordinated with the Mossad, the Health Ministry and other institutions. One controversial issue, though, remains the use of tools that are normally reserved to counter terrorism.In March, the Supreme Court removed objections to letting the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) use digital means to check up on citizens who were infected. The Knesset formed a committee to oversee how the tools of state security might be used to track the virus but also to form checks and balances against abuses of citizens’ rights in a democracy. This is a careful balance. The battle against COVID-19 is a national struggle, akin to a war. In fact, Israel has not had such a threat, in terms of potential casualties, since the 1973 war. It is understandable that the government would scramble and reach for whatever is available.At the time that the court enabled the use of this unique method, there were only a handful of deaths in Israel and just under 2,000 cases. Now the number of deaths is 100 times greater, but evidence shows that the methods we employed did help slow the spread. The Shin Bet used cellphone data to learn where people had been, whether they had come into proximity with known infected people, and whether they had remained there for more than 10 minutes. Then those in proximity would be notified to go into isolation.This method, which was one way you might track terrorists, was not always useful for tracking the virus. Some people said the data were wrong – for instance, people might be in proximity with each other but there might be a wall between them. We don’t know the full details about how this technology works, because we need to keep it secret from our enemies.Therefore, this emergency measure was eventually rolled back. It has now been revealed by Channel 12 that the coronavirus cabinet recently discussed the Shin Bet and other methods being used to track the virus. Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman was heard on a recording saying he is opposed to using the agency’s tools unless there is “no other solution.”This raises two concerning questions. Why is someone recording sensitive meetings of the cabinet and leaking them to the media? That must be investigated. Second, it is important and to his credit that Argaman is wary of extending the tools used against terrorism to this health crisis. This may be for a variety of reasons. It may be that devoting too many security resources to deal with the health crises is problematic when we are facing a potential wave of protests over annexation. It may be that this creeping use of surveillance against citizens violates our civil liberties.Most importantly, why has the country, since March, not found a civilian solution to track people? The government had stopped using the Shin Bet, only to reconsider this issue in June, as cases have increased. It is incumbent on the government to use Israel’s hi-tech expertise to enable health officials to track people or to monitor the situation. It isn’t an either-or issue. The Shin Bet should focus on its mission, and health experts should focus on theirs. We have had ample time to do this. The government let us down in April and May by not creating a system that could help remove the burden from the Shin Bet and protect civil liberties at the same time.We are now in the midst of a rising wave of COVID-19 cases, and there are important questions about what the government can do to confront this. It’s not clear whether the tracking technology of the Shin Bet worked well, and whether we could tweak it to make it work better in a civilian context. Those are questions the government must answer, and it needs to answer them immediately.