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General News    H3'ed 1/5/19

Serious concerns regarding integrity of the Israeli Central Election Committee

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In a surprise move, apparently dictated by his corruption investigations, PM Netanyahu announced a short-notice general election on April 09, 2019. Where are the key threats to integrity of the 2019 election? Russian, Ukrainian, and Chinese hackers? Or perhaps an inside job on IT systems of the Central Election Committee? Following repeat notices, the Shin-Bet is finally initiating security review.

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Figures. Top - CEO - Attorney Orly Adas, Chairman - Justice Hanan Melcer, and " COO and IT Director" - Lazar Dudovich. Bottom - in FOIA response - the Committee stated that Dudovich was COO and IT Director, but no record was found of his appointment and his job description...

Tel-Aviv, January 02 - As is the case in the US, Israeli authorities, with help by media, sound alarms regarding the threat of interference by Russian, Ukrainian, or Chinese hackers in the 2019 general election. [1] The evidence indicates that major threats to integrity of the 2019 election are found in the Central Election Committee itself and the management of its IT system development, implementation and operation. Following repeat documentation of failures in the Committee's conduct, it has been reported today that the Shin-Bet-initiated security review of the Committee's personnel. [2]
A series of FOIA requests demonstrates continuous efforts by the Committee to undermine transparency of its conduct, reflecting a culture of fabrications and raising serious concerns regarding integrity of its senior officers. [3]
At the end of 10 months (time limit by law is 30 days, with a possible 30-day extension), and after a pre-litigation notice, sent last week to the Committee's Chair, Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer, the Committee has finally responded today on a FOIA request, pertaining to protocols of the Committee's Presidency and Plenum meetings (in which the chairs - justices of the Supreme Court - participate). However, as was the case in previous FOIA responses, the Committee's response fails to provide copies of the authentic records. Instead, the Committee has provided a letter, describing the records... Regardless, the information relative to the agendas of the Committee's meetings, fails to show involvement of the current Chair, Justice Hanan Melcer, in material issues, pertaining to validity, integrity and security of the Committee's IT systems.
Similarly, a previous FOIA response denied the existence of any records, which tie the Committee's chairs over the past 7 years to computerization of the Committee.
In contrast, a November 2018 report by columnist Ben Caspit, under the Hebrew title, "Is the Israeli election susceptible to fraud?", announced that Justice Melcer "delved into the depth of the issue" and initiated "a multi-layered security system". In a previous FOIA response, the Committee denied any relationship to such report, or the existence of any records, which documented the initiation of any corrective measures by Justice Melcer...
State Ombudsman's reports and FOIA responses have documented incredible failures in validity, integrity and security of the Committee's IT systems.

  • The Committee initially stated that the Shin-Bet validated and certified its IT systems. However, after the Shin-Bet flatly refuted such claims, the Committee stated that it had no validation and certification records.

  • The Committee stated that it had no certification of compliance with lawfully binding IT security standards.

  • In response, pertaining to authorities and permissions for publishing the election outcome in the Committee's web site - the Committee provided a response that was a false representation - of an automated, no-human-touch process. After the Committee had been presented with false election-outcome data on its web site, the Committee claimed that somebody uploaded the wrong data file...

The Committee's FOIA responses raise serious concerns regarding integrity of the Committee's senior officers, including CEO - Attorney Orly Adas, Legal Counsel - Attorney Dean Livneh, and FOIA Officer - Elad Naveh. According to the Committee's FOIA responses, management of the Committee's IT systems development, implementation and operation is under the authority of Mr Lazar Dudovich - COO and IT Director. However, the Committee failed to produce any record, which documents his lawful appointment and job description...

Performance of the Committee's Chairs - justices of the Supreme Court - fails to generate public trust... au contraire!

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Figure. The Committee's initial FOIA response refused to provide any information regarding the Committee's meetings, claiming that over the past 7 years it had held "innumerable meetings". Eventually it turned out that over the past 4 years it had held only 12 meetings (see below) ...

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Dr Zernik's core research pertains to e-government and its significance for Human Rights and Civil Society.

His work won appreciation in Israel and abroad: * Prof Uzzi Ornan - "All power to you! I hope that you see your tremendous efforts (more...)
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