Covid-19: in Israel, monitoring of phones to fight against the Omicron variant divides

With the threat from the Omicron variant of Covid-19, Israel has closed its borders to foreigners.

Here, a traveler arrives at the screening area at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv on November 28, 2021. © Amir Cohen, Reuters

Text by: RFI Follow

1 min

Faced with the threat of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, Israel barricades itself, closing its borders to foreigners.

Israeli citizens returning from African countries classified as “ 


 ” will be placed in quarantine in the famous “





Only a negative PCR test will allow them to continue their seven-day isolation at home.

But the Hebrew state is also reactivating a much maligned method: monitoring cell phones to track down the virus.

A measure that even divides the executive.


Read more

With our correspondent in Jerusalem,

Sami Boukhelifa

Set up by the government of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

in the first months of the pandemic

, cell phone tracking still scandalizes Israel.

In the process, the Israeli Supreme Court sounded the alarm, demanding that this practice be framed by law.

In July 2020, the Israeli Parliament does so: the Knesset then adopts a text that authorizes the government to use surveillance technologies from the Shin Bet (Israeli internal intelligence), in its fight against the virus.

Valid for a period of three weeks, this law has been continuously renewed.

Last March, the

Israeli justice system put in place new safeguards


There is no longer any question of monitoring the entire population: from now on, tracing is limited only to people refusing to cooperate with the health authorities.

Faced with the

threat of the Omicron variant

, the new Israeli government is reverting to this method.

The Planning Minister denounces a “




and accuses Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of “ 

perpetuating the abuses

 ” of the former administration of Benjamin Netanyahu.

 To read also

Variant Omicron: Israel prohibits access to its territory to foreigners


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  • Israel

  • Coronavirus

  • Health and medicine