Corporal Elad Yaakov Sela, 25, from the settlement of Bat Ayin, was charged in Jaffa Military Court on two counts - espionage and revealing classified information.
According to the military prosecutor, Sela took advantage of his sensitive role as an intelligence NCO in the Etzion Brigade to leak classified information on planned arrests in Gush Etzion. During questioning, Sela said he served as intelligence officer "of the hills" – a reference to illicit settler activity in the West Bank.
The charges against Sela were so grave that they needed approval from Chief Military Prosecutor Major General Danny Efroni and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.
"The soldier repeatedly took advantage of his access to confidential information, which he passed to those who were the subject of that information," said prosecutor Major Thea Shalit.
"He was assigned to a sensitive post, and the military trusted him to perform his duties with loyalty to the army and the state, and his actions abused that trust in the gravest possible way."
In light of the gravity of the charges, the court president approved the prosecution's request to remand Sela until the end of legal proceedings against him.
Sela, who is married with two children, was arrested on March 11 by the nationalist crimes unit of the Judea and Samaria District. The arrest came after security forces recognized that right-wing activists in the Bat Ayin settlement appeared to be updated in a timely manner regarding planned arrests by the police and the Shin Bet security service at Bat Ayin, following a "price tag" attack on a local mosque.
Given that the area falls under the military jurisdiction and that the military activity was stored on the brigade computers, suspicions arose that someone in the brigade had leaked the sensitive information.
Sela was drafted into the IDF through the Haredi track. He was assigned as an intelligence noncom at the Etzion Brigade base close to his home, as he was married and had a baby at the time of enlistment. He suffers from medical problems, and the time of his arrest and interrogation by the Shin Bet had been hospitalized.
Following the indictment, the Shin Bet said that, "During questioning, Sela admitted that he had taken classified and sensitive IDF documents, and handed them to extreme right-wing elements in Bat Ayin. He did it for ideological reasons.
"The Shin Bet takes the transfer of information very seriously, as it is essentially a desire to thwart the activities of the security forces and has the potential to endanger the personal safety of troops."
Adi Keidar, the attorney representing Sela on behalf of Honeinu legal aid service, said: "The conduct of the army and investigators towards the soldier is shameful. When Anat Kam committed serious offenses and leaked of thousands of secret documents that hurt IDF operations against the enemy, the system treated her with kid gloves and immediately released her to house arrest, but when it comes to a religious soldier suspected of aiding Jewish settlers the attitude is reminiscent of totalitarian regimes."
The Bat Ayin settlement in Gush Etzion, close to the Green Line, has been seen as a hotbed of extremist activity, including attacks on Arabs, plotting to attack Israeli politicians, and planning to blow up mosques. It was also home to the Bat Ayin Underground, an extremist group comprising residents of the settlement and members of the Hebron Jewish community who planned to carry out terror attacks against Arabs.