Netanyahu to impose polygraph tests on high ranking officials following cabinet rows

Netanyahu to impose polygraph tests on high ranking officials following cabinet rows
Israel's PM plans to implement polygraph examinations on senior political and military figures due to a series of media leaks which exposed cabinet discord.
2 min read
08 January, 2024
Israeli cabinet meetings, which are preceded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have been the scene of major tension over policy direction [Photo by RONEN ZVULUN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to impose lie detector tests on high-ranking political and military officials following a series of leaks to the press which revealed disunity and dysfunction in the Israeli cabinet.

According to Israel's Channel 12, Netanyahu reportedly told the cabinet on Sunday that there was "a plague of leaks" which he was not prepared to allow, and announced work on a bill which will require "everyone who sits in cabinet and security discussions, including political and professional ranks, to undergo a polygraph".

The move came after Israeli media reported major rifts within the cabinet following a 4 January meeting that reportedly descended into a shouting between ministers over the military's plans to investigate its failings over the Hamas attack on 7 October.

During the meeting, far-right members of the cabinet verbally attacked Israeli Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi who was present in the meeting, with other ministers stepping in to defend Halevi. Netanyahu reportedly called off the meeting after three hours.

The meeting had initially been planned to resolve a growing split between the cabinet over plans for a post-war Gaza.

Far-right cabinet members Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich have lobbied for the displacement of Gaza's residents abroad and the reinstatement of Israeli settlements in the enclave.

Their plans were in stark contrast to messages from the Biden administration and from Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, both of whom have said Palestinians in Gaza will govern themselves post-war.

In the aftermath of the cabinet meeting, war cabinet member Benny Gantz issued a video statement calling for Netanyahu to choose "between unity and security or politics" in a bid to pressure Netanyahu to resolve the matter.

This is the second time Netanyahu has called for polygraph tests since the war on Gaza began on 7 October, reportedly making the same demands following leaks from government meetings in mid-November.

Israel's subsequent war on Gaza, which has been referred to the ICJ by South Africa, has killed at least 22,835 Palestinians - mostly women and children and injured more than 55,416.