An anti-Zionist haredi man was sentenced to four and a half years in jail for offering to spy for Iran
The man, Itzhak Bergel, who belongs to the radical Neturei Karta sect, admitted to making the offer
to the Iranian regime as part of a plea bargain.
In return he was convicted Tuesday of contact with a foreign agent and attempting to aid the enemy in its war against Israel
by a Jerusalem Magistrate Court.
The Neturei Karta suspect (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
Last August it was reported that that the 46-year-old man was arrested a month prior and was interrogated by the Shin Bet after a long investigation led to his arrest and the seizure of incriminating paperwork.
Lawyer Yair Nehorai who represents Bergel said "in the current circumstances, we took into account the pros and the cons and decided that this is the best plea bargain we could get."
According to the indictment, the man decided to contact the Iranian régime and offer his services and pass intelligence about information about Israel. He first attempted to find out which countries have an Iranian embassy and upon learning that there was a mission in Berlin, he bought a plane ticket to Germany.
In January 16, 2011, the defendant boarded a flight to Berlin and a day later visited at the Iranian embassy around 1 pm, but it was closed. He went again the following day, in full ultra-Orthodox regalia, and asked the desk-clerk for a meeting.
At the clerk's request, he handed over his passport. He was then led into an embassy office where he met three unknown individuals including a person who introduced himself as "Haji Baba."
The defendant told the three he was an Israeli and member of the Neturei Karta sect explaining that the group does not recognize the State of Israel.
He further noted that he aims to replace the current government with one controlled by "goyim" (gentiles). He then offered the Iranians to gather information about Israel for them.
During the conversation, he asked the Iranians why aren’t they able to protect their people from Israeli assassination missions. He was rebuked of insulting Iran while asking for political asylum but replied he was not seeking asylum. He further noted that he is willing to murder a Zionist.
At the end of the meeting, the defendant was told that higher ranks needed to be consulted on the matter. "Haji Baba" gave him a note with an Iranian email account (firstname.lastname@example.org) and instructed him to check it for a message from them. He was also given an embassy telephone number for future use.
returned to Israel four days later and checked the email account at an internet café in Jerusalem. He also used public payphones to phone the embassy in Berlin.
In one of the cases he asked to talk to Haji Baba but was told he was out of the office. The defendant intentionally avoided contacting the Iranians via his home computer and telephone.