Said Nafaa and Ahmed Tibi - Emil Salman - 2010
Israeli Druze MK Said Nafaa, left, and MK Ahmed Tibi, right, during a Knesset hearing, 2010. Photo by Emil Salman
Text size
related tags
Emil Salman
Israeli Druze MK Said Nafaa during a Knesset hearing on his immunity, 2010. Photo by Emil Salman

The Northern District Prosecution filed two indictments on Monday against Balad Knesset member Said Nafaa and 16 other Druze sheikhs, for visiting Syria and Lebanon in 2007 and 2010.

The prosecution accuses them of illegally entering an enemy state, and contacting a foreign agent. The latter indictment comes after Nafaa, during his visit to Syria, met with a senior official in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The Druze sheikhs visited Syria to tour holy sites and to meet with senior religious officials in the country.

According to the indictment, Nafaa traveled to Syria, which is defined as an enemy state, despite the fact that the Interior Minister clearly forbade him from doing so. Nafaa met with the deputy secretary-general of PFLP in Syria, and then tried to meet with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal.

According to the amendment of the law in 2005, MKs do not receive automatic immunity from being put on trial, and they must request that the immunity be granted once an indictment is served against them.

In 2010, the Knesset committee rejected Nafaa's request to grant him immunity from being put on trial, after the Attorney General at the time, Manny Mazuz, served an indictment against him for traveling to Syria in September 2007 and meeting "foreign agents."

The Adalah organization, which represents the accused, said that "the group of sheikhs traveled to Lebanon and Syria for humanitarian and religious purposes only, in order to advance the freedom of religion of the Druze populations in those countries. The visit of MK Said Nafaa was a legitimate political visit as a leader and representative of the Arab minority in Israel. He did not meet with any security or foreign agent during his visit and he adamantly opposes the allegations against him."