Haredi Israeli charged with spying for Iran


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A haredi Orthodox Israeli from the anti-Zionist Neturei Karta sect was charged with offering to spy for Iran.

The unnamed suspect was charged in Jerusalem District Court with espionage and assisting an enemy in time of war, according to the indictment reported by Israeli media on Thursday after the lifting of a gag order.  He had been arrested by the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Police in mid-July.

The man reportedly visited the Iranian Embassy in Berlin in January 2011, dressed in hasidic garb, and offered to spy on behalf of the Islamic Republic. The indictment said that he met with three men at the embassy and told them that he planned to replace the Israeli government with one controlled by gentiles, and that he was willing to murder a Zionist.

He was given an Iranian e-mail account and the phone number of the embassy.

He checked the e-mail account after he returned to Israel, and called the embassy from payphones. He reportedly received financial compensation for his efforts.

The man reportedly has confessed to the allegations in the indictment.

Neturei Karta is a tiny hasidic sect whose members are fiercely anti-Zionist because they believe a Jewish state can only be established by the messiah. Some of them live in Israel.

Recommended from JTA