Israeli government gives IDF access to citizens’ tax data, report says

Military intelligence unit gets access to confidential tax data.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The government of Israel has authorized the IDF Military Intelligence division to have access to the country’s civilian database, Haaretz reported Wednesday.

The head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Tamir Heyman, now can look into all the Tax Authority’s confidential data on private Israeli citizens, and Heyman can authorize those under his command to use the data, the report said.

Haaretz said it was stonewalled when trying to find out what the data was to be used for, getting the general reply from the IDF that the tax information would be used for “security needs and for the purpose of safeguarding state security.”

However, the magazine Israel Defense reported that the sharing of data between the IDF and the Tax Authority would involve private, financial information of those who are not citizens of Israel but have files in the Tax Authority system.

The magazine noted that the Israeli Tax Authority also collects tax data from Palestinians and tourists who carry out economic activity in Israel.

It is estimated that the IDF will be using the data for various purposes, including deterrence and legal actions against those who are not citizens but who endanger the security of the state. Israel in the past has managed to arrest couriers transferring cash for the Hamas terror organization.

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Haaretz complained that the intelligence branch of the IDF “should not be involved in purely civilian matters,” although the paper admitted that information was needed for helping it block financing for terrorism.

The data sharing was approved by the Knesset in legislation, Israel Defense reported.