Israeli Woman Sentenced to 2.5 Years for Photographing Restricted Sites for Hezbollah

27-year-old from the Israeli Arab city of Taibeh is sentenced over photographs she gave to Hezbollah agent of an Iron Dome anti-missile system, a military base and a hospital

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An Iron Dome battery in Israel, June.
An Iron Dome battery in Israel, June.Credit: Emil Salman

A resident of Taibeh was sentenced to two and a half years in prison on Thursday for taking and sending photographs to a Hezbollah agent.

May Masarwa, 27, was convicted by the Central District Court of contact with a foreign agent and giving information to an adversary.

She confessed to taking pictures showing the Iron Dome anti-missile system, military vehicles, a military base and a hospital to a Hezbollah handler in Lebanon who contacted her via Facebook, according to her conviction.

According to her indictment, Masarwa agreed to the agent's request for pictures of sites around Israel and sent him 12 photos. She traveled to distant locations and used binoculars in some cases, the indictment said.

The indictment described an incident in which the agent asked her to attend a lecture by journalist Yossi Melman on Hezbollah and Israel and to ask him a question he provided: "Is there a chance of war between Hezbollah and Israel?" Masarwa asked the question, recorded the exchange and sent the recording to the Hezbollah agent. In another incident, she gave the agent photos from Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa soon after a military incident on Israel's northern border.

The State Prosecutor's Office had sought a three-and-a-half year sentence. Attorney Shahaf Kleinman-Shimoni of the Central District Prosecutor's Office argued in Masarwa's sentencing hearing that "There are offenses that undermine the State of Israel's existence. The potential to damage the state by assisting such an organization is of the highest level. It is unacceptable for a citizen who receives rights from the state chooses to undermine its existence."

In their ruling, the judges said they had taken Masarwa's age into consideration, as well as the fact that she has no criminal past, the harsh conditions in which she was held, and the assessment that the damage caused by her actions was moderate.  

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