Druze Leader to Go on Trial on Charges of Espionage for Syria

A highly respected Druze leader from the Golan Heights, who once entertained Deputy Premier Yigal Allon at his home, will go on trial before a military tribunal shortly on charges of espionage for Syria, Sheikh Kaml Kanj of Bajdal Shams village and four alleged accomplices were rounded up by Israeli security forces last week. Kanj confessed to working for Syrian intelligence. He is being held under administrative detention pending trial. The Druze, a non-Arab Moslem sect inhabiting northern Israel and parts of Syria, generally have not taken sides in the Arab-Israel conflict. Israeli Druze are considered loyal to the Jewish State and serve in Israel’s armed forces, a service denied to Israeli Arabs. The Druze community promptly dissociated itself from Kanj’s alleged spying activities. Kanj, 60, was formerly a member of the Syrian Parliament. His brother, Naguib Nur a Din Kanj is the commanding general of the Syrian Army in the Damascus district. Arrested as Kanj’s alleged go-between with Syrian intelligence was a Druze sergeant in the Syrian Army and the latter’s father and two brothers, all of Bajdal Shams village. All face trial. The spy ring reportedly supplied Syrian intelligence with maps of Israeli positions and documents detailing weapons deployment and other information.

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