Israeli Charged With Spying, Relaying Information to Iran via Lebanon

The 50-year-old allegedly was in contact with individuals who posed as Iranians and met with them abroad, where they supplied him with a coding device for relaying messages, which he failed to operate

Netael Bandel
Yaniv Kubovich
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Iran's national flag waves as Milad telecommunications tower and buildings are seen in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Iran's national flag waves as Milad telecommunications tower and buildings are seen in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, March 31, 2020Credit: Vahid Salemi,AP
Netael Bandel
Yaniv Kubovich

A 50-year-old Israeli was charged Tuesday with spying on behalf of Iran and delivering information to the Islamic Republic for the purpose of harming Israel.

The charges were filed in the Central District Court and include contact with a foreign agent, indication of a determination to commit treason, providing information to an enemy with the intention of harming national security, destruction of evidence, money laundering and obstruction of justice.

At the request of his attorney, a gag order was placed on the defendant’s identity.

According to the indictment, in 2018, the man was in contact with a Lebanese national named Khaled Yamani via Facebook. He met with him once in Denmark and once in France, where the Lebanese citizen told him he was acting on behalf of Iranian intelligence that wished to make contact with the accused and work with him.

When he returned to Israel, the accused was unable to operate the coding device he was given and contact the Iranians. He then allegedly threw the device into the sewer and burned the paper on which the email address to which he was supposed to send coded messages to Iran was written.

The indictment also describes how, two months ago, the accused met with two people in Budapest who introduced themselves as belonging to the Iranian security forces.

In this encounter, the accused allegedly provided a substantial amount of information meant to help Tehran “harm Israel.” The parties then agreed that they would continue the contact from Israel using the coding device, and that the accused would aid them in recruiting other Israelis to work with them. He was given 5,000 euros to cover his expenses. 

In March, the accused is said to have tried twice to send messages to the Iranians and a few days later received a coded message from them which he was unable to decipher.

The Shin Bet Security Service said in response that “this investigation illustrates once again that Iran and its proxies are working to recruit and exploit Israeli citizens for the sake of Iran’s needs. The Shin Bet will continue to act with resolve to thwart any activity by Iran and terrorist entities operating on its behalf against Israel’s national security.”

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