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China denies reporting Passover gift to Israel containing spyware

Recent reports from Israeli and international media suggesting that the Chinese Embassy in Israel donated insulated coffee mugs containing hidden spyware to the Israeli government on the occasion of the upcoming Jewish Passover holiday are “baseless rumors.” said the official website of the Chinese Embassy in Israel on Wednesday. .

“[C]Some Israeli media have spread rumors that among the Passover gifts that the embassy sent to the Israeli side in accordance with standard diplomatic practices, a thermal mug in the gifts “may” contain “a suspicious device”. However, the so-called ‘suspicious device’ is actually a getter, which could be easily found in the same type of thermal mugs,” reads the April 13 press release.

The Chinese Embassy in Israel referred to reports from several Israeli news outlets and international news platforms on April 12 revealing that Israeli authorities had recently discovered “suspicious materials” inside beverage cups. offered to Israeli Minister of Science, Technology and Space, Orit Farkash-Hacohen. for Passover.

“The gift aroused the suspicions of office security officers when it set off an alarm during a security check. After further review, the gift was transferred to the Shin Bet [the Israel Security Agency] on suspicion that it contained a monitoring device”, Ha’aretz detailed newspaper on April 12.

“Following the incident, the Shin Bet contacted other government offices to locate more of these cups. Another gift was apparently sent to the office of Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and a third to the office of the Minister of Health. Culture and Sports Chile Tropper”, according to Ha’aretz.

While investigating the suspicious cups, the Shin Bet advised security officers from all relevant Israeli ministries to “remain vigilant regarding gifts from embassies or foreign governments”, the newspaper revealed.

Israel Defense Forces army radio first broke the story on April 12, reporting that “government departments have been urged to step up their monitoring of gifts from China over concerns they may contain ‘listening devices or cameras’. »

The Shin Bet concluded its investigation into the Chinese cups later on April 12 and found that the gifts did not contain spyware. The security agency, also known as Israel’s General Security Service (GSS), said it identified the suspicious device inside the mugs as a “getter” or “common addition to thermal products that absorbs any free oxygen left in the vacuum layer during production”. .”

“GSS technology experts who examined the component determined that it was an innocent component designed to maintain vacuum on the sides of the cup and maintain temperature over time,” the Shin Bet said in a statement. a statement.

The Jewish holiday of Passover begins this year on the evening of Friday April 15 and lasts until the evening of April 23.


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