Two Israeli Druze Convicted of Passing Military Information to Syria

The two Druze provided information to a Syrian army officer during the Second Lebanon War.

Military censors on Thursday permitted Israeli news organizations to reveal that two Israeli Druze have been recently convicted of providing military information to Syria.

The two Druze maintained lines of communication with two Syrian army officers, providing him with information during the course of the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.

Nazareth District Court sentenced Yusef Shams to four years in prison and his relative, Ata Farhat, to three years behind bars.

Prosecutors say that the defendants were in contact with the Syrian officers between June 2006 until the time of their arrest in July 2007. Shams and Farhat were well aware that their contacts were with Syrian military officials.

Authorities say Shams and Farhat coordinated their contacts with the officers and communicated messages between them which were sent by the Syrian officers. The convicted spies also carried out a number of tasks assigned to them by the officers.

Yusef Shams is prominent in the exporting of apples from the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights to Syria. During their contacts with the officers, the subject of apple sales to Syria was discussed. In addition, Shams is said to have provided information on IDF activity, including military maneuvers, concentration of forces on the Golan Heights, and details on IDF units which took part in military activity.

Shams and Farhat also provided information on bomb-proofing military posts along the border with Syria, construction activity on army posts on the Golan Heights, and a demonstration by Druze who were said to be opposed to Syrian rule.