Israeli-Arab passed intel to Hezbollah operatives

Shfaram man charged with meeting enemy agent while on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, giving him intel on IDF base.

June 2, 2013 13:39
2 minute read.
Muslims circle the Kaaba and pray during Umrah, in the holy city of Mecca

Muslims circle the Kaaba in Mecca 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

An Israeli from Shfaram helped a Hezbollah operative work against the State of Israel, according to an indictment presented to the Haifa District Court on Sunday.

Zahar Ben Omar Yusfin, 46, stands accused of charges including making contact with an enemy agent, assisting a banned organization, and passing on information that stands to benefit the enemy, all of which derive from a dinner he attended with a Hezbollah member who he met while on pilgrimage to Mecca in 2007.

Yusfin and his brother worked as organizers for trips by Muslims from the Shfaram area to Mecca beginning in 2000, and during a trip in December 2007, Yusfin was invited to dinner with a man named Abu Ismail, who later revealed himself to Yusfin to be a member of “the Lebanese resistance,” the indictment alleges.

During the dinner, the two men and others spoke about the situation of Arabs in Israel, and Abu Ismail and another Hezbollah operative asked Yusfin to help the terrorist organization in exchange for money. Yusfin agreed and gave the men his cellphone number, according to the indictment.

The day after the first meeting, Yusfin and two of his friends – Sharif Marisat and Salam Halahla – supposedly again met Abu Ismail for dinner, and Abu Ismail brought a friend named Khaled, who was introduced as a Lebanese man who works for “the Lebanese resistance” and lives in Dubai and Germany. He also reportedly told them that he recruits young Israeli Arabs to help the organization.

After returning to Israel, Yusfin remained in contact with Abu Ismail and helped him identify other groups of Israeli Arabs visiting Mecca who he thought could be good recruitment targets for Hezbollah, according to the indictment.

He also reportedly told Ismail about the location of military bases in Israel, and about the location of Hezbollah rocket strikes in Israel during the Second Lebanon War.

Attorney Shimon Kokush, who is representing Yusfin, said that he didn’t see any sort of crime in the indictment, which he said was entirely based on an innocent meal his client attended with people he met while on hajj. He said his client did not know the men were members of Hezbollah and did not agree to help the organization. He added that as with the cases involving the other Israeli Arabs who attended the dinner, he believed that the charges against his client would eventually be dismissed.

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