A man from the anti-Zionist, ultra-Orthodox Natorei Karta sect was charged on
Thursday with making contact with Iranian representatives abroad with the
intention of passing them sensitive information about Israel.
arrested last month, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said. The Shin Bet
and the Israel Police simultaneously announced their earlier arrest of the
A police source told The Jerusalem Post earlier this week that
the suspect lived in the capital’s Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood.
Jerusalem State Attorney’s Office filed the indictment with the district court
on charges of intent to commit treason and contacting a foreign
There had previously been a media blackout on the case, and a gag
order remains on the haredi man’s identity.
At an unknown date, the 47-
year-old decided to make contact with the Iranian government in order to collect
intelligence on Israel and send it to them, the indictment alleges.
this, he went online to check where he could approach an Iranian embassy, said
On January 16, 2011, he flew to Berlin, and two days
later approached the embassy there to tell the Iranians that he was an Israeli
and wanted to speak to them. At the time he was clothed in his regular haredi
dress, including black and white clothes, and tzizit ritual fringes.
was brought to Iranian representatives, including a man who introduced himself
as Hagi Baba and two others, said the indictment.
He told Baba that he
was against the Jewish state, wanted the state to be taken over by non-Jews, was
ready to provide them intelligence and was even ready to “kill a Zionist,” if
necessary, according to the indictment.
He baited the Iranians, asking
them why they continued to fail to prevent sabotage and attacks by Israel within
the Islamic Republic, said the indictment.
The Iranians responded with
annoyance, noted the indictment, saying that he should be embarrassed to insult
them when he was seeking asylum.
The man retorted that he was not seeking
asylum, but wanted to help with spying, said the indictment.
to Israel on January 20, 2011.
He kept up his connection with the Iranian
officials by email, using Internet cafes, and via telephone calls made from
public phones near his place of residence in Jerusalem, the Shin Bet and the
indictment said on Thursday.
The Shin Bet said that under questioning,
the man confessed that he worked “out of a hatred for the State of Israel and in
exchange for financial compensation.”
One place where he checked his
email account for messages from the Iranians was the Vital Hotel at 141 Jaffa Road in the capital, said the indictment. Two spots where he
used public telephone calls to contact the Iranians were on Straus Street and
Kanfei Nesharim Street in the city.
A fringe ultra-Orthodox sect
established in Jerusalem in 1938, Natorei Karta (Aramaic for “Guardians of the
City”) believes Israel can be reestablished only after the coming of the
Messiah. The group therefore rejects Zionism and opposes the existence of the
Members of the sect in Israel and the US are known to burn the
Israeli flag and have sent representatives to attend conferences in Iran in the
Last year, Arabic media reported that members of the sect met with
Hezbollah officials in Beirut. •
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