Arab-Israeli activist arrested for spying


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A leading Arab-Israeli political activist was charged with spying for the terrorist group Hezbollah.

Amir Makhoul was charged Thursday in a Haifa court with "assistance to an enemy in time of war," "aggravated espionage" and "contact with a foreign agent." He was arrested about six weeks ago; the details were kept under a gag order for nearly a week before it was lifted.

Makhoul is the director general of Ittijah-the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations, an umbrella group for Arab nongovernmental organizations in Israel.

Makhoul was arrested May 5 in his Haifa home in front of his wife and children, according to Haaretz. His home was searched and several computers were confiscated.

The Shin Bet domestic security service and Israel Police conducted the investigation against Makhoul.

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.

"This legal proceeding is invalid and I reject all the allegations against me," Makhoul told reporters outside the courtroom.

Omar Said of the Arab political party Balad also was charged with having contact with a foreign enemy.

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