'Liberman can still save Israel from new elections'

Former Justice Min. Shaked says Israeli authorities need to protect citizens' privacy, new elections won't be good for Israel.

103FM ,

Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet Shaked
Hadas Parush, Flash 90

Former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who heads the Knesset's New Right party, slammed Israel Police and the Prosecutor's office for confiscating the cellular phones of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's advisers.

In an interview with 103 FM Radio, Shaked said the confiscation is "a complex event."

"We need to say that confiscating phones for an event like this is disproportionate. Harassment of witnesses is a crime but it could have been done differently when it comes to the Prime Minister's staff. From what I understood they took their phones, but they only use words which were connected to the event during the search.

"According to Israel law, a court order is required in order to search someone's phone. A smartphone is like a computer. For some reason there is a belief that if a suspect agrees, his phone can be searched. That's not the way it is legally.

"Hacking a person's phone is a violation of the Computers Law and is punishable with up to five years in prison. It very severely harms a person's privacy, it's like stripping him naked."

When asked why State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan allowed the phones to be searched, Shaked said: "I don't know why, hacking is a serious thing. Anyone who did this should be brought to court. This is the basic right of every person in a democratic country."

Regarding whether she was concerned that the contents of her phone would cause embarrassment, she said: "Look at your phone and think about what would happen if they published that in the media. It wouldn't be pleasant. We need to ensure that the privacy of Israeli citizens is protected. I truly hope that the enforcement authorities will know how to protect Israeli citizens' privacy. I said this as Justice Minister - that the justice system runs over suspects' rights. When you breach rights - we need to deal with that."

"The investigation into the Prime Minister is an opportunity to talk about this issue," she added.

Though "a person's phone is an important tool in an investigation," Shaked emphasized that "there is certainly the issue of proportion."

"I'm not saying you can't touch phones, but it needs to be done with a court order," she explained.

Regarding leaks, Shaked said: "If there is a serious and significant leak, it's important to investigate it - important investigative materials or things connected to the country's security." But she added: "We live in a democratic country, and we don't need to investigate every leak."

On the issue of coalition negotiations, she said that "it seems there has been no significant progress. There are disagreements regarding who will be first in the rotation and who the coalition partners will be. At the end of the day, [Blue and White Chairman MK] Benny Gantz and the Prime Minister need to sit together and decide."

"I suggest Blue and White worry about negotiations and ensure that their party does not fall apart and does not try to break apart anyone else," Shaked said when asked about Blue and White's discussion of pressuring her to separate from MK Naftali Bennett. "We live in the Knesset and everyone talks to everyone else. Negotiations only happen with the right-wing bloc's negotiating team."

In her view, "either we'll come to an agreement, or [Yisrael Beytenu Chairman MK] Avigdor Liberman will save the State of Israel from elections by accepting significant gains from the haredim."

"It's not good for the State of Israel to hold a third round of elections. Liberman can make significant gains in his current situation."