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East Jerusalem woman arrested for allegedly spying for Hezbollah

Shin Bet says Yasmin Jaber, an employee of the National Library, was recruited by the Lebanese terror group while attending a 2015 conference in Beirut

Yasmin Jaber, a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem arrested for allegedly spying for Hezbollah. (Shin Bet)
Yasmin Jaber, a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem arrested for allegedly spying for Hezbollah. (Shin Bet)

Israeli authorities arrested a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem who spied for Hezbollah, the Shin Bet domestic security service announced on Thursday.

In a press release, the Shin Bet said that Yasmin Jaber was arrested last month under suspicion of attempting to recruit “Israeli and Palestinian civilians and residents to carry out terrorist activities in Israel.”

Jaber’s employer, the National Library at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, expressed “great surprise that our employee, Yasmin Jaber, is suspected of such grave offenses.”

“The security services did not update us over the past weeks as to her arrest. The Library will help in every possible way with the investigation in the event that we are asked to do,” a spokesperson for the National Library said on Thursday.

The Shin Bet said that Hezbollah seeks to hide its operations by recruiting agents from inside Israel during otherwise innocuous visits to Lebanon. To hide their affiliation with the terror group, operatives meet their handlers in third countries such as Turkey and are sent instructions through coded messages over social media, the Shin Bet said.

The Shin Bet alleged that Jaber was recruited during an international “youth conference” in Lebanon in 2015 that Hezbollah exploited to locate and recruit Arab Israelis as agents.

Since her recruitment by the Lebanese terror group, Jaber communicated with her Hezbollah handler through secret messages on social media, according to the Shin Bet. In its press release, the Shin Bet published an Instagram photo which it said contained secret Hezbollah messages that Jaber allegedly used for instructions.

Alleged secret messages in an Arabic-language poem published by what the Shin Bet claims is a Hezbollah-affiliated social media account (Shin Bet)

At subsequent meetings with her handlers, the security service said, Jaber was instructed to recruit Arab Israeli operatives for Hezbollah inside Israel.

“This Shin Bet investigation…is the product of a lengthy intelligence operation to locate those suspected of being recruited by Hezbollah. It is another step in the counterterrorism efforts carried out in the past year against [Iranian] Quds Force and Hezbollah attempts to recruit Israeli Arabs,” a senior Shin Bet official said in a statement.

Earlier this year, the Shin Bet accused Beirut Hamoud, an Arab Israeli woman living in Lebanon, of working to recruit Israeli citizens as operatives for the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group. Hamoud denied the claims, saying that she had merely been speaking with old friends of hers.

According to the security service, one of its agents called Hamoud’s husband Bilal Bizri to warn him that Israel was on to them and to cease their efforts to recruit Israelis citizens for Hezbollah. A portion of the undated phone call was released by the Shin Bet.

“Send greetings to your commander in Hezbollah… in the near future there will be a few surprises for him from us,” the agent said during the call.

At the end of the phone call, Bizri said, “I’m not in Hezbollah or anything like it.” The quote was not included in the Hebrew subtitles of the recording sent out by the security service.

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