Brigadier General Yitzhak Yaakov, who was convicted last month of harming national security in connection with two books he wrote on Israel's weapons development programs, was given a two-year suspended sentence Thursday morning by the Tel Aviv District Court.

Yaakov, 76, former head of the Israel Defense Forces' weapons research and development program, was acquitted of the more serious charges in his indictment: passing on secret information without authority and with the intention of harming state security. At the same time, he was found guilty of the lesser charge of unauthorized handing over of secret information.

The prosecution had asked that Yaakov be jailed in accordance with the severity of his crime, while his lawyer asked the court to free him after his 14 months in detention.

The charges against Yaakov stemmed from two books he wrote in the last few years - a memoir and a novel that, according to the prosecution, contained real data.

According to the indictment, the defense establishment learned of the proposed books in late 1999. In November of that year, defense officials met him and warned him he was forbidden by law to publish any material that had reached him in the course of his work with the IDF, and that a draft of the books must be submitted to the establishment for clearance before publication. Nevertheless, the indictment said, he included classified data in the books, and showed the uncensored drafts to journalists and other "unauthorized persons."

A month ago, during his trial, Yaakov said: "This entire thing is a nightmare for me. I wake up in the morning and remember that I was interrogated for espionage. I was told that I was worse than Vanunu and my wife is Mata Hari."