Hizbullah's Preferred Spies: Arab Citizens of Israel

Hizbullah's Preferred Spies: Arab Citizens of Israel

By | 2010-05-28T02:59:00+00:00 May 28th, 2010|News|0 Comments

Hizbullah is increasing its efforts to recruit Arab citizens of Israel as spies, according to a report compiled by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet).

Hizbullah began attempting to recruit Arab citizens of Israel as spies following Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, and has increasingly focused on such recruits, the report stated.

At first, the organization gathered information with the help of drug smugglers, trading drugs grown in Lebanon for a mix of cash and information from Israeli Arab dealers, the ISA explained.

In recent years the group has expanded its activities, reaching out to Arab Israelis who back Hizbullah’s ideology, and exploiting others who are known to be suffering personal crises, the report continued. Initial contact between Hizbullah and Arab citizens of Israel usually takes place abroad. For example: Arabs who are on pilgrimages to Mecca or on study-abroad programs are easily reachable.

Contact is also made via Lebanese friends and relatives of Israeli Arabs, or occasionally through social networking sites.

Hizbullah prefers Israel’s Arabs as spies for several reasons: they have freedom of movement within Israel and so can access potential targets, including military targets; they are familiar with Hebrew and with Israeli culture; they often have social and financial ties with Israeli Jews; they have access to Judea and Samaria, and they can travel abroad.

While Hizbullah would like to see active involvement of Arab citizens of Israel in terrorism, its main purpose in recruiting Israeli citizens is to gather information, the ISA says. The terrorist group asks its spies to gather information on the Israeli military and security organizations, on troop location and movement along the northern border, on civilian infrastructure such as water and power plants, and on politics and the public mood.

There have been several well-known cases in recent Israeli history of Israeli Arabs who worked with Hizbullah, in some cases taking part in kidnapping and murder plots.

On Thursday, prominent Israeli Arab activist Amir Mahoul, the brother of a former MK, was indicted on charges of providing information to Hizbullah. In 2007, it was revealed that then-MK Azmi Bishara was suspected of passing information to Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War; Bishara resigned from the Knesset and fled the country.