Israel has increased to 90 years the period during which documents belonging to security agencies including the Mossad and the Shin Bet can remain secret, extending it by 20 years.
Until last month, government documents produced by Israeli spy agencies could remain classified for up to 70 years.
Israel’s Supreme Council of Archives recommended against extending the classification period by more than five years. Last month, however, Netanyahu rejected the recommendation and managed to pass an amendment that will keep documents secrets for 90 years from now on.
As a result, documents from 1949, the year the Shin Bet was founded will only be unsealed in 2039. The classification period was also extended for documents from the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, certain military units and the Israel Institute for Biological Research.
Documents relating to more recent cases, such as the death of Ben Zygier, Mossad’s so-called ‘Prisoner X’, or the assassination of Hamas terror group arms procurer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, which took place in 2010, will not be released until 2100.
The Prime Minister’s Office said Monday that making these documents public “could genuinely harm national security.” The material contains information about agents and informants, some of whom are still living or have living descendants, who could be harmed by this information becoming known.
And there is also information that was received from foreign sources and could harm Israel’s foreign relations.
According to the PMO, some material pertains to methods of operation that were used in the early 1950s and earlier are still used today. If they were exposed, it could harm national security.