Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Netanyahu Denies Iran Hacked Phones of His Wife, Son

Netanyahu Denies Iran Hacked Phones of His Wife, Son

Wednesday, 20 March, 2019 - 13:00
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and his wife, Sara on March 14, 2017. (AFP/Heidi Levine, Pool)
Tel Aviv- Nazir Majli
Cellphones of Sara and Yair Netanyahu, the wife and son of the Israeli prime minister, were not hacked by Iran, the Prime Minister’s Office asserted Tuesday.

Netanyahu accused rival Israeli sources in the elections of being responsible for such rumors to divert attention from the scandal of Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz's whose phone was hacked.

Earlier, a report stated that Iran hacked the phones of Netanyahu's wife and son in an attempt to eavesdrop on conversations with the premier.

Sara and Yair Netanyahu were not themselves the main target of the hack, but rather that it was an attempt to gain general information as the PM does not have a cellphone.

It remains unclear just how much and what information was leaked, and if the hack actually took place.

The Iranian espionage was heavily discussed in Israeli media ever since the right-wing journalist Amit Segal uncovered the case of hacking the phone of former Chief of General Staff of the Israeli Forces.

Usually, in such cases when a former chief of staff is hacked, he is put into interrogation and then supposedly provided protection. The damage is then assessed and the issue is considered a matter of “national security.”

However, in Israel in the year 2019, the subject became an “award” that Netanyahu claimed and used to attack Gantz.

“If Benny Gantz can’t protect his phone, how will he protect our country?” Netanyahu stated.

According to Iranian sources, the breach of Gantz’ phone happened a few years ago, but apparently the subject is now being discussed for internal Israeli elections.

For his part, Gantz said that Netanyahu is personally behind this reports saying the PM is willing to target his opponents, even if it harms the security of Israel.

Former head of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo, considered this publication a disastrous blow to Israel's security.

“The use of classified intelligence information for political ends is very grave,” Pardo said, adding that “leaking something like this, at the height of an election campaign, tramples on all the rules of the democratic game.”

Sources close to Netanyahu's rivals of the Blue and White party reported that they decided to step up the attack on the corruption of the prime minister, to become a key issue in their campaign.

In their first full press conference since launching the party, Gantz, Moshe Yaalon, and Gabi Ashkenazi, as well as their ally Yair Lapid accused Netanyahu of being implicated in “the greatest security-related corruption case in the history of Israel.”

Blue and White said that the phone hack story was leaked in an attempt to divert attention away from new allegations that Netanyahu may have earned millions of shekels from the so-called submarine affair.

Netanyahu along with several of his close associates are suspected to have received illicit funds as part of a massive graft scheme in the multi-billion-shekel purchase of three Dolphin-class submarines and four Saar 6-class corvettes from German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp.

Editor Picks