Ameer Makhoul, from Haifa, accused of espionage and aiding the enemy in a time of war, said Sunday at the start of his trial in Haifa District Court that there is a trend in Israel of "breaking the bones of Arab political figures."
Makhoul and his legal team have yet to respond to the indictment.
An indictment was filed last month against Makhoul, a well-known public figure in the Arab sector, which detailed a list of allegations, including spying on Shin Bet and Mossad security facilities and various IDF bases for Hezbollah.
The indictment was read Sunday in court before a panel of judges including, Justice Yosef Elron, Justice Moshe Gilad, and Justice Avraham Elyakim. Because of the hearing on the confidentiality certificate that the prosecution asked be issued on some of the investigation material, Makhoul's response to the indictment has been postponed.
Leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement Sheikh Raed Salah and Knesset Member Ibrahim Sarsur (United Arab List-Ta'al) attended the hearing.
Upon entering the courthouse, Makhoul said that the source of the case against him is a political plot. "There is a trend of breaking the bones of political figures," he said. "This is precisely what they did to Omar Said, Sheikh Raed Salah, and MK Hanin Zoabi."
"These are not for security reasons. But anything an Arab does in this country is considered a security offense by the Shin Bet," Makhoul added. He said that the indictment against him is "a plot by an entire country, and we will fight it."
The indictment claims that Makhoul passed on information to Hezbollah regarding the location of a Mossad facility in the center of the country and of the IDF's Nahshonim base. He allegedly even tried to obtain the home address of the Shin Bet chief, but to no avail.
After the attempted terrorist attack in Lev Hamifratz Mall, he was allegedly asked to hand over video footage of the event. Makhoul is also accused of reporting on the atmosphere in Israel and the status of Israeli society, and of indicating damage to the Home Front as a prominent weak spot.