Israeli security minister barred after sensitive information leaks

Itamar Ben-Gvir, the minister of national security, has been accused of leaking information and breaching protocol
Itamar Ben-Gvir, the minister of national security, has been accused of leaking information and breaching protocol - ABIR SULTAN/SHUTTERSTOCK

Israel’s hardline security minister has been barred from intelligence briefings after a series of leaks of sensitive documents.

Itamar Ben-Gvir is accused of breaching the very security guidelines he is appointed to protect and is facing a boycott by the country’s national security council.

Since the Gaza war broke out in October, the Right-wing minister under Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-Right coalition, has been increasingly sidelined.

He has been accused of illegally photographing classified attendees of high-level intelligence meetings, according to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

Last month, Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence chiefs also refused to meet with him any more after relations between the two sides became irreparable following clashes in weekly security meetings.

Shin Bet accused the minister of leaking information and breaching protocol such as bringing mobile phones into meetings.

The boycott by Israel’s two top domestic security agencies leaves Ben-Gvir, once convicted himself on terror charges, in the dark on key matters of intelligence.

A senior Israeli intelligence source told The Telegraph: “The biggest threat to Israel from within is Ben-Gvir. He acts within his own rules and tries to disregard everyone around him, in spite of his not having any background in national security and defence issues himself. He is a liability.”

It comes on the eve of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month when tensions in Israel are expected to spike following Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s call for all Palestinians to march on Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Last week, the terror group’s political chief said: “This is a call on our people in Jerusalem and the West Bank to march to Al-Aqsa since the first day of Ramadan,” which Israeli government spokesperson Tal Heirich described as “trying to drag us to wars on other fronts”.

Ben-Gvir tried to push through legislation to limit the number of worshippers at the mosque compound, a flashpoint for Jews and Muslims, a holy site for both religions, but the war cabinet has banned his plans for fears it will take Israel into an ever-expanding war.