Photo: Gil Nechushtan
Jaris. A spy?
Photo: Gil Nechushtan
Officials: Iranian spy affair overblown
Justice Ministry says reports on Iran espionage affair involving Israeli-Arab citizen Jaris Jaris are incorrect; accused claims 'story was blown out of proportions'

The Iranian espionage affair, which made headlines in the Israeli media Friday, is apparently dying out sooner than expected.


According to publications in the press Friday relying on information from the Shin Bet, an Israeli-Arab and former head of the Arab village of Fasuta Jaris Jaris was involved in spying for the Iranian intelligence service, and attempting to infiltrate Israel's political system.


However, the Justice Ministry issued a statement Monday saying that "former reports in the press, stating that Jaris had been involved in serious spying for Iran, were incorrect."


The Haifa District court indicted Jaris Monday morning, on suspicions of contacting a foreign agent and conspiring to relay information to the enemy.


This "classified" information, however, turned out to be no more than academic material, journalistic reports and details on Ma'alot local council Head Shlomo Buhbut.


'Severed all ties with agents'


According to the indictment, Jaris attempted to get elected to Knesset, in a bid to gain access to sensitive state information.


Prosecutors requested to have Jaris' remand extended until court proceedings are completed. However, the court ordered an extension of custody for only two days during which Jaris' attorney will have time to study the case, and until another hearing is held.


Jaris told the court he did not know the people he was dealing with were Iranian agents, and that once he learned this he broke all contacts with them.


"This story has been completely blown out of proportion," Jaris claimed.


Attorney Sabri Jaris, the defendant's lawyer and brother, said his brother did not cooperate with the Iranian agents.


"He severed all ties with them as well as with the Lebanese national he had been in touch with 30 years ago. The indictment proves that the original offenses the Shin Bet attributed to Jaris were reduced. I believe he will be found innocent," he said.


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