An IDF soldier from the Etzion Brigade was sentenced Tuesday to three years and nine months in prison for leaking classified information to Jewish extremists in the West Bank.
Corporal Elad Sela, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin, passed information regarding future IDF operations to “price tag” hate criminals, helping them evade authorities and continue their attacks.
The term “price tag” refers to attacks, usually arson and graffiti, carried out by Jewish extremists to target non-Jews — including homes, churches and mosques. During the attacks, the word “price tag” has often been spray-painted on the vandalized structures.
Sela was arrested last March by the Judea and Samaria District police unit, which deals with nationalistically motivated crimes. He was part of the Shahar project for ultra-Orthodox recruits and served as an intelligence NCO, a role in which he had access to classified information.
“The soldier, time after time, and on a number of occasions, took advantage of his access to secret information and handed it over to those on whom it concerned. He was assigned to a sensitive military network and trust was put in him to carry out his duties loyally to the army and the state. His actions were a serious betrayal,” military prosecutor Major Thea Shalit said.
The Shin Bet launched an investigation after a mosque in a Palestinian village near Bat Ayin was torched and vandalized on February 15. The army entered the settlement to arrest several far-right activists suspected of involvement in the attack, and were met with violence, prompting a soldier to fire in the air. The incident led investigators to believe the residents had received advance warning of the arrests.
“Sela was convicted of carrying out unauthorized searches in classified systems concerning the criminal activity carried out by residents of Bat Ayin, where he lives, as well as actions taken by security forces against such activity,” the IDF said in a statement. “Over a long period, which ended with the arrest, Sela gave classified information to various individuals suspected of carrying out hostile activity against Palestinians, information which assisted these individuals in evading and foiling the activity of security forces in the area.”
After his arrest in March, Sela was interrogated by the Shin Bet and confessed to the allegations.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.