Israeli-Arabs Charged w/ Spying

Three Arabs have been indicted on various charges, including attempting to kidnap someone they mistook for a Syrian turncoat.

Tags: Majdal Shams
Hillel Fendel , | updated: 11:11 AM

Last month's siege in Majdal Shams
Last month's siege in Majdal Shams
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Three Arabs – one Israeli-Arab and two others from the Golan Heights – have been indicted on charges of attempting to kidnap someone they mistook for a Syrian turncoat.

The three are charged with attempting to kidnap to Syria a man whom they mistakenly thought was a Syrian pilot who defected to Israel with his MiG-23 fighter jet in 1989.

One of the indicted men lives in the Arab village of Baka el-Gharbiye (population 33,500), just outside of the northwestern Shomron (Samaria). The other two, a father and son, are from Majdal Shams (9,500), the largest of the four Druze villages in the Golan, all of whose inhabitants hold Syrian citizenship.

They were charged on Thursday in the Nazareth District Court, following an investigation by the Shabak (Israel Security Agency) and the Police Security Department for International Crime.

The arrest last month of one of the suspects in Majdal Shams led to a riot by 1,000 town residents, who besieged and entrapped several police offers until police negotiators arrived. It is believed that violence was avoided largely because the residents ultimately chose to go home and watch the World Cup soccer games rather than continue their siege.

The three are also suspected of transferring to a Syrian intelligence agent coded information and videos regarding an Israeli submarine in the Haifa area, an army base in central Israel, and the Hadera electric plant.

In sum, they are accused of espionage, contact with a foreign agent, transfering information to the enemy, conspiring to kidnap, and illegal entry to a military site.