by: Yoav Zitun ~ Ynetnews
Thursday, 13 January 2022 | Israel’s domestic security agency announced Wednesday it had thwarted an attempt by Iran to recruit Jewish Israelis to serve as spies and collect intelligence.
The suspects were indicted earlier Wednesday in the Jerusalem District Court. Their names are all barred from publication under a court-issued gag order that was requested by their attorneys.
The investigation by the Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] and Israel Police was launched several weeks ago after it was suspected that a number of Israeli women—all Jewish immigrants from Iran—were in contact with Iranian intelligence.
According to the agency, the Israelis were contacted via Facebook by a man named Rambud Namdar, who masqueraded as a Jew residing in Tehran.
Rambud requested from all suspects that they remain in contact with him through WhatsApp, where they video chatted.
He never showed his face to the women, claiming that the camera on his phone was broken.
While some of the women suspected that he was an Iranian intelligence officer, they continued to speak with him and agreed to carry out requests he made and receive money from him, the agency said.
It said a 40-year-old Israeli woman was in touch with him for several years and agreed to photograph the US Embassy when it was in Tel Aviv, as well as an Israeli government office and a shopping mall. The recruiter asked her to encourage her son to join military intelligence for his mandatory service and even spoke to him by phone to evaluate his Persian language skills, it said.
Another woman, 57, was in touch with the suspected recruiter for four years and was paid a total of US $5,000 for a number of tasks. She also pressured her son to join military intelligence and sent his military documentation to the recruiter.
She established a club for Israelis of Iranian descent in order to gather information about them and tried to cultivate ties with a member of Israel’s Parliament, the Shin Bet said, without naming the lawmaker.
“With their grave actions, those involved put themselves, their families and innocent Israeli citizens at risk, as their information was transferred to Iranian intelligence, in addition to the information that was given over about Israeli sites and American sites in Israel, which would be used for terrorist purposes,” a senior Shin Bet official said.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett congratulated the Shin Bet, saying that Iran is trying to “disrupt political stability in Israel.”
Posted on January 13, 2022
Photo Credit: Chris J. Davis/Unsplash.com
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