Jewish Inmate Allegedly Smuggled Phones to Security Prisoners

The prisoner, Danny Ohana, from Mizpeh Ramon, has been convicted over the last several years of crimes involving drugs, violence and robbery.

A prisoner is to face indictment after a Shin Bet security service investigation revealed he allegedly played a key role in smuggling cellphones and money to other inmates.

The prisoner, Danny Ohana, from Mizpeh Ramon, who is in his 40s, has been convicted over the last several years of crimes involving drugs, violence and robbery. In 2009, he was sentenced to five years for trafficking in hashish, which he is serving in a prison in the south.

Illegal workers in Israel prisons - Nir Kafri - August 2011
Nir Kafri

About a year ago, Ohana was taken to the Supreme Court for a hearing on his case. Riding in the vehicle with him was a security prisoner, Murad Abu-Rukub, and the two struck up a conversation, during which Ohana is believed to have promised Abu-Rukub that he could smuggle cellphones to him in prison. Abu-Rukub gave Ohana the phone number of his brother, Abdullah, who lives in Gaza. Ohana allegedly called the brother and struck a deal for Ohana to get the phones into the prison for NIS 1 million.

The phones were allegedly to have been brought into the prison inside of kitchen equipment.

Early this year, Ohana is believed to have been given $80,000 and 24 phones by an unknown individual, and transferred half the sum to an East Jerusalem resident, Obeideh Tawil, who got the money into the prison. In March, when Ohana went on furlough from prison, he gave $14,000 to Tawil. At this stage, the Shin Bet arrested Tawil, who led investigators to Ohana.

Ohana told the Shin Bet that he did not intend to commit terror, but wanted to perpetrate a sting operation on Hamas. He said he had been unable to get the phones into the prison, and that he spent the money on entertainment. He said he had given half the money to Tawil because he had been threatened by a Hamas man from Gaza after the cellphones did not reach the prison.S

Ohana was given a hearing by the State Prosecutor's Office southern district on charges of contact with a foreign agent and several security offenses. Haaretz has learned that the prosecution did not accept Ohana's claim of a sting and intends to press forward with the indictment. Ohana has been denied furloughs, and was not allowed to attend his son's circumcision.

The Shin Bet confirmed that it has questioned Ohana and said the case was still under investigation.

Ohana's case is unusual, as Jews are not usually involved in contact with Hamas.

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