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Remand Extended for Neturei Karta 'Spy'

Extremist who attempted to spy for Iran, offered to "kill a Zionist" previously served in IDF, discharged for reasons of mental health.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 8/5/2013, 1:22 PM

Neturei Karta members meet Iran's Ahmedinajad
Neturei Karta members meet Iran's Ahmedinajad
Flash 90

Remand was extended, Monday, for a member of the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta hareidi sect, who was arrested about three weeks ago on suspicion of offering to spy for Iran. Another hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

During Monday's hearing, it was revealed that the suspect had previously applied for a Libyan passport at one of the North African country's European embassies with the intent of moving there, about 20 years ago, a few years after he was discharged from military servicedue to mental health issues.. 

The attorney for the suspect, identified as a 47-year-old Jerusalem resident, asked that the suspect's full identity not be revealed because he is not mentally competent. The lawyer also claimed the suspect's confession to the Shabak Israel Security Agency was inadmissable since his client had not spoken with an attorney.

The prosecution countered that the defendant added details to his confession even after meeting with a lawyer, and claimed that there is no indication he suffers from a mental illness.

According to the indictment, the man took the initiative to spy on Israel, without having been contacted by enemy agents. He flew to Berlin and went to the local Iranian embassy, where he presented himself as an Israeli citizen interested in speaking to Iranian officials. He met with three Iranian men, one of whom presented himself as “Hajj Baba.”

He explained to the Iranians that he is an Israeli citizen who believes the state of Israel should not exist, and that he wishes to see Israel governed by non-Jews. He offered to gather information and pass it on to them, and said that he is even willing to murder a “Zionist.”

“Hajj Baba” gave the man an email address and password, and told him to stay in touch with the embassy.

On January 20, 2011 the man returned to Israel. He checked the email account he had been given several times, using a computer at an internet café in Jerusalem. He also called the Iranian embassy in Berlin twice, each time from a public phone. On one occasion embassy officials did not answer. On the other, the suspect asked to speak to “Hajj Baba” and was told he was not present that day.

Neturei Karta is a small fringe sect which believes that the establishment of the State of Israel was sacrilege, and which often cooperates with other extremist groups to carry out anti-Israel activity.