A private members’ bill to ban official wiretapping was defeated in Parliament today after Justice Minister Dov Joseph assured the deputies that the Government was formulating legislation to prohibit unauthorized use of listening devices.
The bill, which was submitted by Zvi Zimmerman of the Liberal party, would have required Israeli courts to reject evidence obtained by wiretapping. It was defeated 37 to 29.
The Justice Minister called the bill “bad–good only for Communists.” He cited many western countries in which official listening-in was permitted for state security reasons and for the prevention of serious crimes. He contended that there was no contradiction between the individual’s civil rights and the right of the state to combat espionage, treason and grave crimes. He said the United States, Britain, France, Denmark, Sweden and Italy were among the “enlightened countries” where wiretapping was approved under certain conditions.
The Minister evoked a lively reaction when, in reply to a question from the floor, he expressed a personal opinion that telephones of Knesset members could be tapped. Heckled by a retort that this would conflict with the law of Parliamentary immunity, he replied that the law could be amended.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.