TEL AVIV – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that as the world leader in cyber warfare Israel was the best equipped country to deal with potential election hacks.
His comments came in response to reports that a foreign superpower was meddling in the elections.
“Israel is prepared to thwart a cyber intervention, we’re prepared for any scenario and there’s no country more prepared than we are,” he told reporters.
During a closed-door event at Tel Aviv university on Monday, Shin Bet security agency head Nadav Argaman warned that a foreign country was using cyber-attacks and hacking to intervene in the elections.
“100 percent [redacted name of foreign country] will intervene in the upcoming elections and I know what I’m talking about, but I don’t know who will benefit,” he said.
The meddling “involves cyber-attacks and hacking,” Argaman added.
He said that the Shin Bet obtained concrete proof of the plan to intervene.
Later on Tuesday, the Shin Bet released a statement saying it had the ability to monitor and thwart any intervention attempts.
“The Israel Security Agency wishes to clarify that the State of Israel and the intelligence community have the tools and capabilities to locate, monitor and thwart foreign influence efforts, if there are any,” the statement said.
“The Israeli defense establishment has the tools and capabilities to allow the existence of democratic and free elections in the State of Israel,” it continued.
In response, Tamar Zandberg, head of the left-wing opposition party Meretz, said Israel should thwart any attempts by Russian President Vladimir Putin to influence the elections in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s favor.
“We demand the security services make sure that Putin doesn’t steal the elections for his friend, the tyrant Bibi,” Zandberg said in a statement.
However, Russia denied the accusations.
“Russia is not interfering and does not intend to interfere in the elections in any country in the world,” Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Paskov told reporters.
According to Russian daily Izvestia, Paskov also said that people should “not read the Israeli media.”
The Russian embassy released a tweet to that effect, and accompanied it with a meme reading, “Keep calm and blame Russia or Russian hackers.”