Stop Threatening Text Messages from the Shin Bet to Worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque

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In recent days, many Arab citizens and residents received text messages to their cellphones in Arabic, signed by the Shin Bet, with a threatening message: “You have been identified as a person who participated in violent acts in the Al-Aqsa mosque. You will be held accountable.” On 12.5.2021, we appealed to the State Attorney’s Office and demanded they instruct the Shin Bet to immediately stop sending these text messages, and take action against whoever initiated and approved this action.

In the appeal, Attorneys Gadeer Nicola and Gil Gan-Mor argued that sending these text messages was done with a blatant lack of authority, as the massive database of contact information in the hands of the Shin Bet is intended to prevent illegal activity that threatens security, rather than to be used in ways that threaten citizens and residents. “As long as there is concrete intelligence about a person having committed or planning to commit an illegal activity, the Shin Bet and Police are permitted to enact investigative authority and concrete arrests, but in no way is the Shin Bet allowed to send citizens threatening messages such as these”, the appeal stated, “and it is even more severe considering the fact that only Arab citizens received such messages. It would not seem reasonable to anyone in the Shin Bet to even dare and send similar messages to Jewish citizens.”