A sum of $120,000 has been raised for the release of an Israeli held in an unnamed Arab state on murder charges, and the funds will be transferred in the next few days, the Zaka rescue and emergency response organization said Wednesday.
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Ben Hassin, 21, a Canadian-Israeli who was living in Tel Aviv, faces a murder sentence or 25 years in prison in that Arab country. After the affair was cleared for publication by the military censor on Tuesday, Hassin’s father and a cabinet minister called on the public to help raise the money for his release.
The man’s father, Ilan Hassin, said on Tuesday that his son had traveled to an unnamed Arab country, with which Israel has no diplomatic ties, more than a year and a half ago to visit his grandparents. While there he joined forces fighting ISIS.
The father said that when a cabbie heard Ben speaking on the phone in Hebrew and threatened to expose him as an Israeli, his son shot the driver in self-defense. He was imprisoned in June 2015 and charged with murder, which could lead to a death sentence.
As part of a compromise, the Hassins are supposed to pay $120,000 to the driver’s family, the father said.
He said the deadline for paying the money is Sunday, when the court is to hold another session on his son’s case.
Zaka chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav issued a call to raise the ransom sum, after Hassin’s father and the Foreign Ministry asked for his help. The money was raised in less than 24 hours with the help of hundreds of “merciful” people in Israel and the world “to release the Jew Ben Hassin,” Meshi-Zahav said.
“In the next few days the money will be transferred to the Islamic State in the hope and prayer that they’ll keep the agreement and release him,” Meshi-Zahav said.
The story was initially uncovered by Israel’s Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara (Likud) last November, but kept under a gag order at the time.
In a recorded telephone conversation aired on Channel 2 News on Tuesday, Hassin told his father “they tortured me, covered my eyes and I was cuffed. I was hung from the ceiling. All my nails were torn out, toenails too. How can I know anyone will help me? How can I trust anyone? Everyone one who had a chance to help wanted to kill me or abduct me.”