A haredi man from the Naturei Karta sect was charged Thursday with allegedly making contact with Iranian representatives abroad with the intention of passing them sensitive information about Israel.
The Jerusalem resident was charged with treason and contacting a foreign agent.
According to the indictment, in 2011 the man approached Iranian consulates throughout the world looking to give them information that would hurt the Zionist regime "and establish a Gentile regime in Israel."
The man also allegedly said he was prepeard to "kill a Zionist," if necessary.
There had previously been a media blackout on the case.
A fringe ultra-Orthodox sect established in Jerusalem in 1938, Neturei Karta (Aramaic for “Guardians of the City”) believes Israel can be reestablished only after the coming of the Messiah. The group therefore rejects Zionism and opposes the existence of the State of Israel.
Members of the sect in Israel and the US are known to burn the Israeli flag and have sent representatives to attend conferences in Iran in the past.
Last year, Arabic media reported that members of the sect met with Hezbollah officials in Beirut.
According to the indictment, the man took the initiative to spy on Israel, without having been contacted by enemy agents. He looked online to find out where Iran has embassies.
In January 2011, he flew to Berlin and went to the local Iranian embassy, where he presented himself as an Israeli citizen interested in speaking to Iranian officials. He was allowed to enter. He met with three Iranian men who did not give their names; one presented himself as “Hajj Baba.”
He explained to the Iranians that he is an Israeli citizen who believes the state of Israel should not exist, and that he wishes to see Israel governed by non-Jews. He offered to gather information and pass it on to them.
During the conversation, the man asked the Iranians why they were unable to protect their people from assassination by Israel within Iran. One of the Iranian men asked him why he was mocking them, while he sought refuge in Iran.
The Neturei Karta man countered by saying that he does not want refuge in Iran, and that he is even willing to murder a “Zionist.”
The Iranians ended the conversation by telling the Neturei Karta man that they needed to discuss the matter with their superiors. “Hajj Baba” gave the man an email address and password, and told him to enter the email account to see their response. He also told the man to stay in touch using the embassy’s phone number.
On January 20, 2011 the man returned to Israel. He checked the email account he had been given several times, using a computer at an internet café in Jerusalem. He also called the Iranian embassy in Berlin twice, each time from a public phone. On one occasion embassy officials did not answer. On the other, the man asked to speak to “Hajj Baba” and was told he was not present that day.
The suspect was questioned by the Israel Police’s Lahav 443 unit.