Jewish Engineer Held in Israel on Spy Charges; Came from Bessarabia

A 58-year-old metals engineer, who came to Israel ten years ago from Soviet Bessarabia, has been arrested by the security police here on charges of espionage. His name was withheld in the announcement made today.

Police said the engineer apparently had anticipated his arrest. A small vial of cyanide, a deadly poison, was found on his body and seized before he could use it. The suspect is liable to life imprisonment under state security laws. A similar charge is pending against Aharon Cohen, a Mapam leader, who was remanded after being accused of espionage for a foreign country. Police said there was no connection between the two cases.

The engineer, who lived in Acre with his wife and a grown daughter, reportedly was a well-established citizen. Police said his alleged espionage was done for ideological, rather than financial, reasons. They said his arrest came after months of close surveillance during which he was reportedly seen coming into contact with foreign agents.

Fellow engineers in the Israel Metal Industries, Israel’s largest metal works plant, said he was an expert on iron and aluminum. Haifa police said the engineer had been arrested June 15 but his where abouts and his arrest had been kept secret until today’s announcement.

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