Jerusalem Arab Bus Driver Arrested for Spying for Hizbullah
A Jerusalem court on Sunday indicted a Jerusalem Arab bus driver who was arrested Saturday for spying on Israel, for the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist organization.
A gag order on the arrest was lifted Sunday after the indictment of Atzam Hasham al-Mishara, age 37, who lives in the Arab neighborhood of Jabil Mukabar, adjacent to the Jewish area of Armon Hanatziv near Talpiot in southeast Jerusalem.
The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and police arrested him on charges of having joined Hizbullah last June.
Mishara has confessed to the charges.
He allegedly passed on information about public and government sites to Hizbullah, detailing the Knesset and Hadassah Hospitals in Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus, as well as other public sites.
He is being held in police custody until the end of court proceedings.
The arrest follows a growing number of similar cases of Israeli Arabs joining Hamas and Hizbullah.
Former Arab Knesset Member Azmi Bishara fled Israel after his indictment for treason for spying for Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The former chairman of the Balad party has called Israel a “foreign entity.”
Two years ago, two Israeli Arabs, one of them a Muslim cleric, were arrested for suspicion of belonging to a terrorist organization.
The arrests involved Nazem Mahmoud Abu Salim and Mohammed Zuhdi Naharany, residents of Nazareth, located in the Lower Galilee. Abu Salim has preached against Israel and the United States from his Nazareth mosque, and last year he protested the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the city.
Ten residents of a Nazareth area village were arrested several weeks beforehand on suspicion of engaging in illegal weapons trading during the past two years.
Government officials previously have tried to pass off the involvement Israeli Arabs in terror as isolated incidents, but their participation in terrorist attacks has become routine in recent years.
A Jerusalem Arab murdered eight Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva students in 2008.
Last year, Ibrahim Sarsour, an Israeli-Arab Knesset Member, called for the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate centered in Jerusalem and praised Hizbullah for defeating Israel.
Regarding Hizbullah, Sarsour said, “Yes, there is a force in Southern Lebanon that proudly raised its head to challenge American and Israeli supremacy - with a project that carries the seeds of dignity. [It] is based on Islamic pillars and foundations, and has a vision to manage the war with the enemy [Israel]. Its internal management is well designed to benefit the Umma [Islamic nation].”
Sarsour heads the southern branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement, which teaches children in kindergarten, “O Allah, slaughter them. O Allah, make widows of Jewish women… make orphans of their children… disperse their families, give a dark day for all the Arabs that collaborate with them, O Allah do not lift a banner for the Jews and do not fulfill their goals…”