Israeli universities have been transferring information on their students to the Shin Bet security service, a report in Haaretz said Thursday. The information includes students' Israeli ID number (teudat zehut) and contact information.
The information is apparently being transferred for recruitment purposes, allowing the Shin Bet to review the details of students and approach them for recruitment. The students are not asked for their consent before the information is transferred.
According to Israeli law, the universities are required to transfer the information on demand when it is required to enable the organization to “fulfill its mission.”
The story came to light several months ago, when a group of social activists, as well as several thousand other Israelis, received letters offering them positions in the Shin Bet.
“Based on the information we have,” the letters read, they were invited in for an interview and to apply for a position.
MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) wrote several months ago to the Prime Minister's Office asking why this information was being requested, and whether it was necessary for national security.
She also asked what the source of the information was, and in a response she received last week, Zandberg was told that the source was Israel's universities.
In response, the Shin Bet said in a statement that it collected the information “in order to enable us to fulfill our mission. The collection of information in this manner is permissible under the law.”