A military court sentenced a former Israel Defense Forces soldier to 34 months in prison Wednesday for leaking classified information about IDF activities along the border with Syria.
Corporal Halal Halabi, a former Armored Corps soldier from the northern town of Daliyat al-Karmel, was found guilty of passing secret intelligence and aiding an enemy state when he gave information to Sidqi al-Maqt, a Syrian Druze resident of the Golan Heights town of Majdal Shams. Halabi was also demoted to the rank of private.
The court’s ruling was classified and not all of it was cleared for publication.
Maqt, 48, was accused of handing over photographs and written reports of IDF positions to Syrian intelligence officials, including a government official named Midhat Saleh.
Maqt previously spent 27 years in jail on terrorism charges, starting in 1985. He was released in 2012.
According to Channel 2, the prosecution stated that Maqt approached an IDF guard post in a northern army base where Halabi was stationed, and requested that the soldier assist him in gathering information for an article he intended to publish on IDF activity on the Syrian-Israeli border. Maqt told Halabi that his publication would aid the Druze residents of Syria, and the two exchanged phone numbers.
A day later, Maqt called Halabi, who provided him with information on the IDF’s activity in the area. Halabi urged Maqt to observe the activities and guided him on how to respond to soldiers should they try to remove him from the area.
Maqt was indicted in March 2015 in the Nazareth District Courthouse on counts of espionage, aiding the enemy during wartime, supporting a terrorist organization, and contact with a foreign agent.
At the time, Maqt’s lawyer, Yamin Zidan, denied all charges against his client.
The Israeli side of the Golan Heights has four Druze towns. Many of the residents feel they are Syrians, and maintain connections with their brethren over the border, who made up about 5 percent of Syria’s pre-war population of 23 million people.