Israeli Arab Citizen Indicted as Iranian Spy

Recruited by a member of a Palestinian terrorist group.

An Israeli Arab citizen, Ayman Haj Yahya, was indicted last month for meeting and cooperating with two operatives of Iranian intelligence with the intention of “assisting the State of Iran in its efforts to harm the State of Israel.” This would-be fifth columnist spy for the Iranian regime is alleged to have provided his Iranian contacts with information on a variety of matters affecting the security of Israel, which “could help Iran in its war against the State of Israel.” Yahya was allegedly sharing information regarding the Israeli military, potential targets for terrorist attacks, recruitment of more Israeli-Arabs to assist Iran and ways to sow division within Israeli society.

Khaled Yamani, a Palestinian resident of the Baddawi refugee camp in Lebanon and a senior member of the terrorist organization known as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), reportedly recruited Yahya. After corresponding via Facebook, Yahya met at least twice in 2018 with Yamani, who reportedly revealed that he was working for Iranian intelligence. The PFLP-Iranian regime nexus is strong. For example, as documented by Joe Truzman, a contributor and analyst for The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, “The PFLP's military wing, Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, honored Hezbollah's Nasrallah and former Qods commander Qasem Soleimani…The Soleimani poster says 'In the Quds day, we pay tribute to the soul of martyr commader (sic) Qasem Soleimani.'"

Haj Yahya, together with PFLP's Khaled Yamani, allegedly met with two representatives of Iranian intelligence in Europe in both February and March of 2020. Yahya “received funds, training, encryption tools and codes in order to be able to maintain contact with them in an encrypted way after he returned to Israel,” the Shin Bet claimed. Yahya was attempting to do just that upon his return to Israel before being arrested by Israeli security forces.

“The results of the investigation indicate the depth of ties between Iran and the PFLP and their efforts to carry out espionage and terrorist activities within Israel, even during the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic that has spread so badly in Iran,” the Shin Bet said. “This investigation demonstrates that once again Iran and its proxies are working to recruit and exploit Israeli civilians to work for Iran.”

Yahya had at one time been a member of the Arab Balad party in Israel, an extremist party that was part of the Joint List combining candidates from three Arab parties as well as from the far left Hadash. Balad champions the Palestinians’ demands on all critical issues. Yet even the Balad party did not go far enough for Yahya. He quit the party several years ago and has called on Arab Israeli citizens to boycott the elections altogether, which he believes would be a major blow to Israeli government institutions. He has referred to Arab Israelis cooperating with the Israeli government as “house slaves.” And he mocked Israel on Facebook for prematurely rejoicing over the killing of Qasim Soleimani. Yahya praised Soleimani as the man responsible for building up the Palestinian military presence in Gaza, causing “countless losses that will continue to drain for many years after his departure.”

Yahya has been active in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) against Israel, appearing as a speaker at a BDS conference in Johannesburg, South Africa in December 2014. Yahya has praised terrorists who have been arrested and imprisoned in Israeli jails. He now joins them for allegedly conspiring with Iranian intelligence and a senior member of the terrorist PFLP organization to actively sabotage Israel’s security. “Once again we see the connection between BDS activists and supporters of terrorist organizations and regimes like Iran,” said Amit Deri, founder of the Reservists on Duty, an anti-BDS organization made up of reservists in the Israeli Defense Forces. Reservists on Duty posted a video about Yahya’s alleged spying on its Facebook page along with a statement that Reservists on Duty was not surprised that “An Israeli #BDS activist turned out to be spying for #Iran.”

BDS and terrorism are two sides of the same coin. Part of Reservists on Duty’s mission is to counter the BDS movement on college campuses in the United States and elsewhere by presenting antidotes to the poison disseminated by Students for Justice in Palestine and other hate groups against Israel to justify BDS. Reservists on Duty presenters on campuses include Arab Israeli citizens who are serving in the Israeli reserves. “When Israeli Jews speak on campus, it’s one thing, but when an Arab citizen of Israel [comes] to speak positively about the State of Israel, the Jewish state of Israel … it’s another thing,” said Deri. The pro-Palestinian activists have responded with violence, typical of the terrorists they so fervently admire.

One of the worst incidents Reservists on Duty has faced to date occurred last November on York Campus. “Intifada, Intifada, go back to the ovens,” pro-Palestinian protesters yelled as they tried to break up the Reservists on Duty event. According to Deri, “In the five years that we have been doing this, this was the biggest protests we’ve seen on a college campus. It’s also the first time that we’ve seen a BDS and Antifa collaboration.” Punches were thrown at pro-Israel attendees, and Jewish students had to receive police escort off campus for their own protection.

The Iranian regime and Palestinian terrorist groups such as PFLP work together to infiltrate Israel from within by recruiting Israeli Arab citizen spies such as Ayman Haj Yahya. The left teams with pro-Palestinian activists on college campuses in the West to brainwash students into hating Israel. Catching and locking away the Israeli Arab citizen spies such as Yahya who help the Iranian regime to harm Israel is imperative. But Israel is also being harmed by the stealth hate campaign against the Jewish state on college campuses, including the growing anti-Semitic BDS movement. Palestinian terrorism is whitewashed as legitimate resistance by freedom fighters against an oppressive apartheid regime. Students hearing only one side of the story filled with lies about Israel’s military and the treatment of minorities in Israel are being indoctrinated into hating Israel themselves. Israeli Defense Forces reservists who are Israeli Arab citizens use their own personal experiences to debunk these lies. They are perhaps the best warriors for the truth about Israel on the college campuses while Israel fights its terrorist enemies from within and outside the country.  

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