Shin Bet arrests Israeli after he offered to spy on Defence Minister for Iran

November 19, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Omri Goren, an Israeli citizen who was employed in housework and cleaning at Defence Minister Benny Gantz’s home, was arrested earlier this month after he attempted to contact Iranian elements and offer his services as a spy.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz at a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee in Jerusalem on Oct. 19, 2021. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The Shin Bet stated Thursday that Goren, 37 from the city of Lod, was arrested as part of a joint operation with the police’s Lahav 433 Unit.

The investigation revealed that Goren, who was working at Gantz’s house together with his spouse, contacted an entity affiliated with Iran on his own initiative through a social network a few days prior to his arrest and offered to assist it in various ways, taking advantage of his approach to the minister’s house, in return for payments.

The indictment filed against Goren shows he contacted the Iranian Black Shadow hackers group, which conducted a series of attacks in Israel last month.

Among other things, Goren offered to transmit malware from the Iranian source, which would allow access to the computer used by the minister.

This intention was thwarted ahead of time in light of Goren’s quick arrest, preventing the realization of this possibility, the Shin Bet underscored.

To prove his ability and seriousness, Goren photographed a number of items in various places in the minister’s house, which he sent to the Iranian source, including images of the minister’s computer.

The Shin Bet emphasized that due to information security measures and procedures in Gantz’s house, Goren was not exposed to classified materials, and accordingly there were no such materials transferred from him to the parties whom he contacted.

The investigation was conducted with the knowledge of the Minister of Defense.

At the end of the investigation, the Central District Attorney’s Office filed on Thursday an indictment in the Lod District Court charging Goren with espionage.

“The swift and immediate countermeasures that were taken by the security service thwarted Goren’s intentions, which could have harmed state security,” the Shin Bet stated.

The Shin Bet also conducted an investigation regarding its procedures with the aim of reducing the possibility of recurrence of such cases in the future.

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