Haifa man convicted of terror charges

Israeli Jew, born Palestinian Muslim, guilty of plotting to give explosives to Jihad-affiliated brother.

October 10, 2007 15:17
1 minute read.


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The Haifa District Court on Wednesday convicted Asaf Ben-David, a Palestinian who converted to Judaism, of conspiracy to aid an enemy, contact with a foreign agent and other security offenses. The 39-year-old, born Palestinian Muslim Hussam Sawafta, was found guilty of planning to buy material for making explosives for his brother Salah, an Islamic Jihad operative wanted by the IDF. Salah was killed by the IDF in a West Bank gunbattle before the material was delivered. The exceptional story of Ben-David, a 38-year-old father of four, begins in Tubas, a village in the West Bank, where he was born. In the early 1990s, he found work as a laborer in Israel, where he converted to Judaism, lived as an Orthodox Jew, married an Israeli woman and raised a family. According to the charge sheet, Ben-David surreptitiously had contact with Salah over a period of months, replacing the SIM card in his cell phone several times to avoid being tracked, and tried to help him obtain a large amount of nitric acid, used to prepare bombs. "In the framework of his contacts with Salah, the accused conspired with Salah to assist the Islamic Jihad in its war against Israel," read the indictment. Ben-David reentered the life of the Sawafta family in earnest when his brother was killed, according to Hafez Sawafta, Ben-David's father. Sawafta said he called his Jewish son the day his terrorist son was killed, and that Ben-David came to Tubas and stayed for three days to mourn the death. When he returned to Haifa, he decided to renounce Judaism and return to Islam, Sawafta said. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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