Israel indicts man suspected of spying for Syria

Israel indicts man suspected of spying for Syria

A Druze resident of the Golan Heights studying in Syria is arrested on espionage charges

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Druze cross the border between Israel and Syria (photo credit: Flash90)
Druze cross the border between Israel and Syria (photo credit: Flash90)

A Druze man living in the Golan Heights was arrested for passing information about Israeli army bases to Syrian intelligence, security sources revealed on Monday.

Police said they indicted Liad Joari, 38, on Monday, on charges of contact with a foreign agent and passing information to an enemy entity. Joari, a resident of Majdal Shams, studied in Syria and collected information about Israel’s army bases in the Golan during his summer vacations at home.

Joari was arrested at the end of June when he returned from Syria, where he studied medicine, but the arrest was kept a secret due to security implications. The Shin Bet said that Joari confessed to being in contact with Syrian intelligence for a number of years and had met with a number of Syrian officials.

Joari’s lawyer said his client denied passing on any sensitive information.

According to Joari’s statements, he spent his summer vacations wandering along the Golan Heights, gathering information about IDF training bases and operational routines. Among other things, he informed the Syrians of names of bases and their location, as well as the location of tanks and military exercises.

Joari also provided his operators with information regarding the security regulations at the Quneitra border crossing, and about people who showed support for the Syrian opposition in his hometown of Majdal Shams.

Security forces believe Joari also transferred Hebrew textbooks, an Israeli SIM card and other objects to the Syrian officials he worked for.

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