Mayor of Arab City Charged with Blackmail
The Arab mayor of Qalansuwa, located east of Netanya, has been charged with blackmail, threats, bribery, fraud and breach of trust.
The indictments in Petach Tikva District Court accuse Mahmoud Hdigh and his adviser of threatening to expose intimidating pictures of a city councilman if he did not vote for a measure supported by the mayor. Hdigh allegedly slapped the councilman and later threatened to harm him physically.
The bribery charge concerns the mayor’s alleged demands for money from a contractor in return for his approval of a construction project
Hdigh also was charged with allegedly filing false receipts for payment of a private protection system at his home.
Qalansuwa originally was a small Bedouin town that was built on Crusader ruins. It was an Arab army base during the War for Independence and was outside of Israel’s proposed borders in the United Nations 1947 Partition Plan. It later was incorporated in Israel as part of the 1949 temporary Armistice Lines that were drawn at the end of the war.