Monday, 10 May 2010

Israel Matzav: Gag order (partially) lifted! Two 'Israeli Arabs' charged with spying for Hezbullah

Gag order (partially) lifted! Two 'Israeli Arabs' charged with spying for Hezbullah

In an earlier post, I noted another spy scandal with respect to which there was a gag order here in Israel. That gag order has now been partially lifted. Two 'Israeli Arabs' have been arrested and charged with spying for Hezbullah. One of them is the brother of a former Knesset member (Issam Mahoul of Chadash). One was arrested last Thursday and the other on April 24.

A leading Arab Israeli political activist and a second man were arrested in recent weeks by the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] on suspicion of spying for Hizbullah and conspiring with enemy agents, the Israel Police revealed on Monday.

The two suspects have been named as Ameer Makhoul, 42, head of Ittijah (the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations) - an umbrella group for Arab NGOs in Israel - of Haifa, and Omar Abdo, 40, of Kfar Kana, an activist for the Balad Arab political party.

Makhoul was arrested on May 6 and Abdo was taken into custody on April 24, security services said.

"They were arrested on suspicion of severe security offenses," police added. "The investigation, which is ongoing, is being coordinated with the attorney general [Yehuda Weinstein] and the Israel Police's Head of Investigations Branch, Cmdr. Yoav Seglovitch, as well as the state prosecution," police said.

The details were revealed following the partial lifting of a media gag order which was in place on all details of the investigation. The media-ban and details of the arrests had spread through the Israeli Arab community in recent days, and reignited a furious debate on secrecy and national security.

The picture is Azmi Bihshara, an MK of the Balad party who resigned and defected as he was about to be charged with spying for Hebzullah during the Second Lebanon War. The circus Knesset recently concluded that it has to pay 'retirement benefits' to Bishara.

The two 'Israeli Arabs' who have been charged are known figures in the 'Israeli Arab' community. The organizations with which they work are supported by the New Israel Fund.

Israel Matzav: Gag order (partially) lifted! Two 'Israeli Arabs' charged with spying for Hezbullah

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