Druse MK to be indicted for Syria trip

Druse MK Said Nafa indic

An indictment will be served against Balad MK Said Nafa in the Nazareth District Court, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz decided Sunday, for leading a delegation of Druse community and religious leaders to Syria over two years ago. The Druse MK will be charged with having contacts with foreign agents and visiting an enemy country. According to the charge sheet, Nafa submitted the required request to the Interior Ministry to allow Israeli citizens to travel to an enemy state. When then-interior minister Meir Sheetrit (Kadima) denied permission, the group vowed to make the trip anyway. Nafa led a group of 282 others on a bus from Israel to Jordan, the indictment read, where they stayed for a number of days while he negotiated with the Syrian embassy. Eventually, Nafa managed to receive permission to enter Syria, with the help of former MK Azmi Bishara. The delegation stayed in Syria for a week, visiting Druse holy sites including the grave of one of the faith's major prophets. Nafa also met with Syrian Vice President Farouk a-Shara, as well as with at least one other member of the Syrian government. Nafa apparently also tried to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal while in Damascus. In the past, Nafa defended his trip to Syria as no different from those visits made to hostile Arab nations by Israeli journalists holding dual passports. Responding to the indictment on Sunday, MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta'al) said that the move was politically, rather than criminally motivated. Rebecca Anna Stoil and Dan Izenberg contributed to this report