Israel government extends document secrecy rule to 70 years

Mossad seal

Mossad seal

Researchers, academics and transparency advocates have criticized new Israeli government regulations that extend the classification period of state archives from 50 to 70 years. The measure was approved on July 11 by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following strong pressure by the Israeli intelligence community, led by the country’s General Security Service, also known as Shin Bet. Speaking to leading Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Israel National Archives Director Yehoshua Freundlich admitted that the move was designed to shield Israel “over [issues relating to its] adherence to international law”. He added that the new legislation was also a response to the rising freedom-of-information movement in Israel, led by such organizations as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Movement for Freedom of Information. Freundlich refused to rule out the possibility that certain documents in the state archives will not be re-classified for an even longer period of time in 2018, once the 70-year rule begins to elapse: “don’t ask me what will happen in 70 years”, he said. The Israeli state is known for its uniquely inflexible declassification policy, compared to that of other developed nations, which applies especially to its intelligence apparatus. Unintentional leaks aside, which have been very few and far between in Israel’s 62-year history, there are almost no official documents in the public record on the history, organization and operations of Israeli intelligence. The Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence agency, has declassified only one document since its founding in 1948.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

One Response to Israel government extends document secrecy rule to 70 years

  1. Greg says:

    Business is business, and the mirrors are still smoky.

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