A board showing train arrivales and departures. August 30, 2021. Photo by Moshe Shai/FLASH90 Photo by Moshe Shai/FLASH90
Israel Railways

The announcement comes days after an El Al flight was targeted by hackers during a trip from Thailand to Tel Aviv.

by Troy O. Fritzhand, The Algemeiner

The chairman of Israel’s train system told a conference on Tuesday that unknown foreign actors have repeatedly tried to hack the country’s rail system.

“There were attempts of a cyber attack on the trains, though we were not harmed,” said Moshe Shimoni, the chairman of Israel Railways at Yediot Ahronot’s National Resurgence and Resilience Conference. “We held a cyber week where we prepared for such a scenario, we raised awareness as much as possible, and we are fully protected.”

Shimoni’s announcement comes days after an El Al flight was targeted by hackers during a trip from Thailand to Tel Aviv. El Al said “hostile elements” had tried to divert the plane from its intended destination.

Shimoni further detailed how in the aftermath of the October 7 massacre, when Hamas terrorists broke into southern Israel amid thousands of rockets, slaughtering over 1,200 Israeli and taking hostage more 240, train service continued to function despite the weekly closure for Shabbat.

“The stations were closed, because it was on Saturday, and they quickly turned into soldier pick-up stations. At about 5:00 p.m., we received permission to operate trains to transport soldiers from north to south, and vice versa.”

According to Shimoni, over 1,000 rail workers were called for reserve service, causing initial delays for regular train transport. Operation have returned to normal though, he said, with all stations operating except for one in Sderot, which was attacked by Hamas.

“We currently carry 220,000 passengers per day. This just shows how important the trains are,” he added. At the conference, Shimoni detailed the plans for expansion of the train, of which new stations in the center will be opened in the next two years to provide closer service for residents in places such as Petah Tikva and Bnei Brad.

Seven railway workers were murdered by Hamas, according to Shimoni. In their memory, seven citrus trees have been planted in one of the railway’s main compounds.

“We will find the way to commemorate together with the families,” he said. “The families know this, we will accompany them as much as possible.”