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Arab-Israeli activist admits to spying for Hezbollah

JTA

October 29, 2010 | 11:48 am

A leading Arab-Israeli political activist admitted to spying for Hezbollah in an Israeli court.

Amir Makhoul, director general of Ittijah-the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations, an umbrella group for Arab nongovernmental organizations in Israel, admitted to charges of espionage, contact with a foreign agent and conspiring to assist an enemy in a plea bargain reached Wednesday in Haifa District Court.

The charge of assisting an enemy in a time of war was removed as part of the plea bargain.

Makhoul, 52, was arrested May 5 in his Haifa home in front of his wife and children.

The Shin Bet domestic security service and Israel Police conducted the investigation against Makhoul. Omar Said of the Arab political party Balad was arrested the same day and charged with having contact with a foreign enemy.

Makhoul reportedly gave his Hezbollah handlers the exact location and layout of two Shin Bet facilities as well a Mossad intelligence agency office. He reportedly admitted to meeting with a Hezbollah operative in Denmark, when he agreed to start collecting information on Israeli security services for the terrorist organization.

Despite the plea bargain, Makhoul’s lawyer said, Makhoul did not pass classified information to Hezbollah since all of the information was accessible or previously leaked, according to reports. 

Sentencing will begin Dec. 5. The state is seeking a 10-year prison sentence, the maximum, while the defense is trying to lower it to seven.

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