Israeli-Arab activist Amir Makhoul was sentenced on Sunday by the Haifa District
Court to nine years in prison and a year’s suspended sentence after having been
convicted of spying for Hizbullah.
The charges including being in contact
with a foreign agent, conspiring to assist the enemy in wartime, espionage and
Makhoul charged with espionage
Hizbullah spy suspect revokes confession
Makhoul confessed to the crimes after reaching a
plea bargain with the state.
Under the plea bargain, the sides agreed
that each would ask for a different sentence from the court. The state asked the
court to sentence Makhoul to 10 years in prison, while Makhoul asked for seven
The judges, Yosef Elron, Moshe Gilad and Avraham Elyakim, wrote
that while the defense had tried to play down Makhoul’s activities, “we have
before us a defendant who, after coordinating in advance, met a foreign agent of
Hizbullah in Copenhagen, allowed him to install a coding program in his personal
computer and on at least 10 occasions, perpetrated espionage crimes in which he
transferred coded messages over a lengthy and continuous time.”
rejected the defense claims that Makhoul had fallen into a trap set by the
Hizbullah agent, Hassan Jaja.
Makhoul argued that he had hesitated before
working on behalf of Hizbullah, and regretted it afterwards.
described the defendant’s arguments as follows: “The defendant accepted
responsibility for his actions, regretted his entanglements which started off
with a ‘naïve’ relationship, at the beginning of which he fell ‘into a trap,’
and that this chapter of his life should be perceived as ‘an exception to the
rule,’ not ‘ideological,’ ‘not an integral part,’ and, in his words, ‘something
that deviated from my life and the things I have done in my career which are
very different from the spirit of these deeds’ [for which I am on
According to the indictment, Makhoul met Hassan Jaja through his
wife in 2004. They began seeing each other and drew closer in 2008.
During that year, he flew to Copenhagen to meet Jaja, who revealed to him that
he worked for Hizbullah. Jaja installed a coded program in Makhoul’s computer,
enabling him to be in direct contact with his Hizbullah superiors.
his return to Israel, Makhoul supplied Hizbullah with information on the
location of IDF bases, the guarding of these bases and where arms were stored,
strategic targets, security at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, the Nachshonim army
base near Rosh Ha’ayin and other topics.
He sent at least 10 messages to
Hizbullah, including the names of six Israeli Arabs who he thought might be
prepared to work for Hizbullah inside Israel.
After the law enforcement
authorities arrested Balad member Rawi Sultani, the son of a prominent Israeli
Arab attorney, on August 10, 2009, on suspicion of security violations, Makhoul
threw out the code and refused to re-install it after being asked to do
In April 2010, after receiving a message from Jaja to meet him in
Jordan, Makhoul prepared to travel there immediately. However, the
authorities issued an order preventing him from leaving the country.