Assam Mashara, an Arab resident of Jerusalem who was caught after traveling to Lebanon and making contact with the Hezbollah terror organization, was sentenced to a mere 3.5 years in jail Monday, Hakol Hayehudi reports. He was found guilty of traveling to an enemy state, contact with a foreign agent, and passing information that could aid and abet the enemy.
If you’re asking yourselves why an Israeli citizen spying for one of Israel’s most dangerous enemies would only receive 42 months in jail, you’ll need to read on…
According to the charges, Mashara, who has worked for some 18 years as a driver for the Egged bus corporation, earning the trust of his Jewish employers and passengers, decided about a year and a half ago to make contact with the Hezbollah, in order to assist them against Israel. So he took his wife and flew—obviously in a roundabout way—to Beirut, Lebanon, where they took a hotel room. That act in itself would have landed the two of them in jail, but, wait, there’s more.
Mashara went to a local cemetery where many Hezbollah members are buried, and asked the guard to connect him to someone in the organization. The next day he was contacted by two men who led him to a Hezbollah compound where he was asked many questions about Israel. Mashara answered all their questions and even handed them a gift he had prepared back at home.
The next day a Hezbollah technician gave Mashara an encryption program, which he hid inside a children’s computer game. The Hezbollah man gave him $1,500 to buy a laptop in Israel, and use it to contact the organization.
Mashara bought a laptop in Israel, installed the encryption program, and opened a Facebook account through which the Hezbollah was supposed to contact him.
They didn’t. In fact, he was picked up after two months, and in the plea bargain he received it was agreed that the prosecution would not charge him with contacting Hezbollah after returning to Israel. You want to know why, right? Read on…
When you work for Egged for 18 years, you’re bound to make friends. And Mashara made many Jewish friends, fellow drivers, who enlisted in a campaign to get him off the hook. His buddy, an Israeli named Motti Nadav, told the court about Mashara’s “loyal, positive, generous and friendly character.” Nadav described how Mashara assisted the victims of one of the bus bombs on Yaffo Street in Jerusalem.
Did it occur to anyone that Mashara could have been involved in planting one of those bus bombs? Apparently not, His friends were convinced he only contacted the Hezbollah out of a freakish kind of curiosity. It’s like a midlife crisis thing, shows itself differently in each person: one man buys a motorcycle, another man goes spying for a murderous Islamist terror outfit. Boys will be boys.
OK, you waited patiently, so here’s the punch line: the Judge, Moshe Yuad HaKohen, accepted the defense argument that being fired from Egged, the company he so cherished and in which he used to have an 18-year seniority, was a huge punishment in itself. So he gave him only three and a half year in jail.
But wait, it gets even better: the prosecution initially was only asking for 5 years.
In the words of the immortal Rabbi Elazar (Midrash Tanchuma on parshat Metzora): “Whomever becomes merciful to the cruel ones, eventually becomes cruel to the merciful ones.” On the one hand Israeli cops raid a Jewish man’s home and tase the daylights out of him for the sin of residing with his family, and on the other an Arab who conspired with devoted Jew killers gets a slap on the wrist.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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