An Israeli Bedouin businessman was charged with serious security offenses on Monday, including the transfer of state secrets to Iranian intelligence through a foreign agent, the Shin Bet stated.
The suspect, Yaakub Abu Al-Qia’an, a past resident of the Bedouin town of Hura and more recently a resident of the upscale Jewish town of Meitar, was detained almost three weeks ago by Israeli security forces but a gag order was placed on the case. His arrest followed a joint investigation by the Shin Bet and Israel Police.
Al-Qia’an, a multi-millionaire businessman who is considered one of the largest construction contractors in the Bedouin community as well as the wealthiest, has ties to the Islamist Ra’am Party and was active in the Ra’am campaign in the Negev prior to the last election. Three years ago, he ran for the Knesset on the list of former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s Telem party, which is now defunct.
Al-Qia’an has photos on his Facebook account of him posing with Bogie Ya’alon and Defense Minister Gantz and allegedly told his handler that he is one of Israel’s decision-makers. He provided his handler with updates on Israel, including information about Israeli security forces, the activities of Defense Minister Gantz and military deals reached between Israel and the US, obtaining the information from media reports and connections with various Israeli figures.
Al-Qia’an transmitted the information to Iran via Lebanese-Iraqi proxy Hyder al-Mashhadani. He was initially unaware that al-Mashhadani was working for Iran but once he found out, he continued to work with him and even requested a meeting with the Iranian agents.
The Southern District Attorney’s Office filed the indictment in the Be’er Sheva District Court on Monday.
“The fact that Abu al-Qia’an, a wealthy millionaire who is close to senior figures in the Israeli economy, transferred information to Iranian agents, is proof that the growing nationalism in Bedouin society is not related to complaints poverty and status, but to nationalistic motives,” wrote the director of Regavim, a movement dedicated to the protection of Israel’s national lands and resources. “It’s the result of the state of Israel burying its head in the sand, and it must quickly pull it out.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)