Status regarding Budapest ConventionSee legal profile
The Israeli government, specifically the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Homeland Security, have taken a few measures on the matter of cybercrime in recent years.
The Israeli government has decided to establish the National Cyber Headquarters and the National Cyber Authority. These government agencies are dedicated to strengthen Israel's abilities on the matter of Cyber security and combatting Cybercrime. These agencies have been decided upon on three different government decisions – no. 2443, no. 2444 (from February 15th 2015) and no. 3611 (from August 7th 2011). Later, in 2017, the Israeli Government decided to unite these two agencies into one, called The Israeli National Cyber Directorate. The Israeli Government is currently working on a Government Bill that will address the National Cyber Directorate powers and assignments.
The Israeli government has also decided to take measures on the matter in order to provide incentives for entrepreneurs and economic growth in cyberspace, alongside reducing social inequalities and improving government services online. The project, called "Digital Israel", has been erected based on Israeli government's decision no. 1046 (from December 15th 2013), and promotes innovation on matters of digital education, digital health, digital welfare and digital economy.
On matters of law enforcement, the Ministry of Homeland security has founded the Cybercrime Division in LAHAV 433 on 2013. The Cybercrime Division is the leading Police force fighting against crimes in cyberspace. The Division is the investigative force responsible for the investigation of complex computer crimes on the national level, such as "hacking", viruses etc.
The Ministry of Justice has decided to establish the Cybercrime Department in the Israeli State Attorney's Office, on September 2015. The Cybercrime Department is part of the Israeli prosecution (the State Attorney's Office) and is responsible for the indictment and prosecution of criminals that have committed cybercrimes such as spreading viruses, "Trojan horses", information theft, money theft committed online etc. The Department is also responsible for "Alternative Enforcement", mostly against expression offenses, by reaching understandings with the Internet companies about the removal of content that violates the Israeli law and the companies' terms of service.
Additionally, in 2016 the Israeli Government established the Child Online Protection Bureau (The 105 Unit). The Bureau is dedicated to tackle online offences committed against minors. The unit includes a national call center; a special investigation unit which will focus on revealing and investigating such offences; activities in the field of education, welfare and suicide prevention; and activities on the matter of content removal.
On matters of Privacy protection, in 2006 The Ministry of Justice has founded the Israeli Law, Information and Technology Authority. The Authority's name was later changed to the Privacy Protection Agency. The Agency serves as the government's branch responsible for the protection of privacy and private information. Additionally, the agency is responsible for investigating criminal offences that have to do with the unlawful usage of databases.
State of cybercrime legislation
Israel is a full member of the Budapest Convention as of April 14th 2016, when the Israeli Government has ratified the Convention.
Israel has a few specific laws regarding cybercrime, primarily the Computer Law (1995). Alongside the specific laws, the Israeli Penal law (1977) and the Israeli procedural laws and evidence laws, all apply to the cyberspace and to computer crimes committed online. This is important especially on matters of economic criminals and sexual offences committed online, since most of these offences have no special legislation to apply them to the cyberspace.
The main law that deals with cybercrimes is the Computer Law (1995). This Law forbids the illegal access to computer material (Article 4), data and system interference (Article 2) and the misuse of devices (Article 6) alongside other offences. The Wiretap Act (1979) forbids the Illegal interception of communication between computers (Articles 1+2).
In terms of criminal offences that have been first enacted in the pre-computer era and then revised to fit the new technology, two main examples can be presented. First, Article 3(a)(5a) to the Israeli Sexual Harassment Prevention Law (1998) is a fairly new Article, from 2014. This Article states as an offence the publication of a photo, video or recording of a person, without his consent, when the publication focuses on the person's sexuality and when the circumstances of the publication can humiliate or degrade that person. This new offence aims to deal with the phenomenon that is mostly known as "revenge porn", and is punishable for five years imprisonment. A second example is Article 214(b3) to the Israeli Penal Law (1977) that was amended on 2014. This Article forbids the publication and the possession of pedophilic content, and in 2014 the Article was amended and now also forbids the viewing of pedophilic content. The amendment aims to deal with the phenomenon of online "streaming" of pedophilic content.
The Computers Law of 1995, as amended in 2012, introduced substantive law provisions as required by the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.
As mentioned above, the main legislation regarding cybercrime in the Israeli Computer Law (1995):
- Article 2 forbids data and system interference.
- Article 3 forbids the transportation or usage of false information on a computer and online.
- Article 4 forbids the illegal access to computer material.
- Article 5 states that the illegal access to computer material in order to commit a different offence, from any other statutory law, is an aggravating circumstance.
- Article 6 forbids the misuse of devices or the coding of software that can perform one of the offences mentioned above.
An additional offence that is important to mention, stated on the Wiretap Act (1979), is the illegal wiretapping communication between computers.
Article 3 to the Israeli Criminal Procedure Law (Communication's Data) (2007) authorizes the Israeli Police to ask an Israeli court to order ISPs to supply the Police with communication's data in four different cases:
- Saving or protecting human lives.
- Detecting, investigating or preventing offences.
- Detecting and prosecuting offenders.
- The legal forfeiture of property.
Articles 35 and 36 to the Israeli Evidence Ordinance (1971) states that an institutional record will be admissible in a judicial proceedings despite the rule that states that a hearsay in not admissible. These rules are especially important in cyber-related cases as these cases are often based on data that is not in the possession of the state.
Article 23A to the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (Arrest and Search) (1969) states that a search conducted on a computer will be conducted after receiving judicial authorization and only by a fittingly skilled policeman. It will be noted that lawful consent may also be a basis for such a search.
Article 43 to the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (Arrest and Search) (1969) states that a judge is authorized to ask any person to present any object or serve the object to the court. According to Article 1 to the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (Arrest and Search) (1969), the term "object" includes computer data and software.
All other procedural orders and provisions in the Israeli legislation apply to cybercrime and cyber investigations, with the necessary changes.
Article 3 to the Israeli Criminal Procedure Law (Communication's Data) (2007) authorizes the Israeli Police to ask an Israeli court to order ISPs to supply the Police with communication's data in four different cases, as mentioned above. This can only be conducted based on judicial warrant, and after a formal and written request has been made by a police officer. The court has to make sure that the person's privacy is harmed only in a reasonable manner.
As was mentioned above, Article 23A to the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (Arrest and Search) (1969) states that a search conducted on a computer will be conducted after receiving judicial authorization and only by a fittingly skilled policeman. The court has to explicitly state the permission to access the computer material, the search's goals, the search's conditions, and has to make sure that the person's privacy is harmed only in a reasonable manner.
Related laws and regulations
Draft Cyber Security and National Cyber Directorate Bill, published on June 20, 2018, by the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office published (sources: https://csrcl.huji.ac.il/news/new-israeli-cyber-law-draft-bill; https://www.cfr.org/blog/look-israels-new-draft-cybersecurity-law)
One of the most important rules that relate to cybercrime and cyber investigations is the Protection of Privacy Law (1981). The law states different offences and civil torts that are meant to protect the Israeli citizens' privacy, and is derived from the protection of privacy that was enshrined on the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty (Article 7(a)). All acts of the investigative and prosecution authorities in Israel are subject to this right, as well as other human rights.
The cybercrime in Israel is mostly dealt with by three main units, that have been presented above:
- The Cybercrime Division in LAHAV 433 – investigating criminal offences.
- The Cybercrime Department in the Israeli State Attorney's Office – prosecuting cyberoffences.
The Israeli Privacy Protection Agency– investigating database-related offences.
Competent authorities and channels
The Israeli Government and the different Ministries dealing with cybercrime are constantly collaborating with different law enforcement agencies around the world, whether it is state agencies or international organizations. Israel is always happy to assist other countries and share its vast knowledge on matters of cybercrime.
Authority for extradition and provisional arrest in the absence of other treaties (Article 24)
The Israeli competent authority, in accordance with Article 24(7)(a) of the Convention on Cybercrime, responsible for making or receiving requests for extradition or provisional arrests in the absence of a treaty:
Department of International Affairs,
Israeli State attorney's office
The Ministry of Justice.
Contact and Telephone Number:
Email: [email protected]
Authority for Mutual Legal Assistance in the absence of other agreements or arrangements (Article 27)
The Israeli competent authority, in accordance with Article 27(2)(a) and (b) of the Convention on Cybercrime, responsible for sending and answering requests for mutual assistance:
Legal Assistance to Foreign Countries department
Office of the Legal Advisor,
the Administration of Courts.
Contact and Telephone Number:
Tel: +972-74- 7481836
Email: [email protected]
24/7 Contact point (Article 35)
The Israeli competent authority, in accordance with Article 35(1) of the Convention on Cybercrime, the designated as Point of contact available on a twenty-four-hour, seven-day-a-week, for provision of immediate assistance for the purpose of investigations or proceedings concerning criminal offences related to computer system and data, or for the collection of evidence in electronic form of criminal offence:
LAHAV 433 UNIT (National Unit)
the Israel Police
Sources and links (Practical guides, templates and best practices)
National procedure on judicial cooperation in the criminal field- Mutual legal assistance in criminal matters (source: Committee of Experts on the Operation of European Conventions on Co-Operation in Criminal Matters (PC-OC))
On the matter of Ezra v. Israel (criminal appeal 8464/14), the Israeli supreme court discussed whether or not the offence stated on Article 4 to the Israeli Computer Law (1995), forbidding illegal access to computer material, is relevant only to cases in which the offender has overcome a "Digital Lock". The Supreme court decided that the offence is relevant to any case in which the access what "unlawful", meaning every time the offender did such an act without the proper consent of the legal owner or holder of the computer material.
Sources and links
The Cyber Division in LAHAV 433 website - https://www.gov.il/he/departments/general/police_investigations_and_intelligence_department_cyber_unit
The Cybercrime Department in the Israeli State Attorney's Office website – https://www.gov.il/he/Departments/Topics/cyber-state-attorney-office
The Israeli Privacy Protection Agency's website – https://www.gov.il/he/departments/the_privacy_protection_authority
These profiles do not necessarily reflect official positions of the States covered or of the Council of Europe.
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- Cybercrime website
- Template: Mutual Legal Assistance Request for subscriber information (Art. 31 Budapest Convention). English and bilingual versions available.
- Template: Data Preservation Request (Articles 29 and 30 Budapest Convention). English and bilingual versions available.