Jerusalem librarian was Hezbollah spy, rules Israeli court

Jaber, a 26-year-old resident of east Jerusalem, accepted a plea bargain in exchange for the lenient prison sentence.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An Israeli court sentenced a former Jerusalem librarian to 2.5 years in prison for her role as a spy aiding and abetting the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group.

On Sunday, the Jerusalem District Court found Yasmin Jaber guilty on charges of attempting to recruit Arab Israelis to a network of Hezbollah operatives in the Jewish State, as well as being a member of a terrorist organization and contacting an enemy agent in a foreign country.

Jaber, a 26-year-old resident of east Jerusalem, accepted a plea bargain in exchange for the lenient prison sentence.

According to the indictment, Jaber traveled to Lebanon and Turkey several times between 2015 and 2018, where she “knowingly had contact with foreign [terror] agents…was a member of the terrorist organization, took part in the organization’s activities and carried out…operations to help…fund terrorist organization activities.”

Because women generally fall under less scrutiny than men, Jaber’s role was to recruit Israeli Arab women as Hezbollah spies to provide information for the planning and execution of terror attacks.

Jaber used social media posts on Instagram to communicate with her handlers, sending coded messages via the captions, prosecutors said.

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She was arrested in September 2020 after a year-long Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) investigation into an Iranian-Hezbollah recruitment network operating in Israel.

News of Jaber’s arrest shocked her employer, the National Library of Israel.

In a statement, the institution said it came as a “great surprise” that their diligent employee was accused of “such grave offenses.”

Initially, Jaber proclaimed her innocence. Her attorney said that she had been interrogated for 20 hours a day with no legal counsel present.

“My sister could never have done anything that harms herself or us,” Jaber’s sister Shorouq told Arabic-language media.

A Hebrew University student group which Jaber co-founded also defended her.

“We believe Yasmin’s story… because it is a thousand times closer to the person we knew,” the organization wrote on Facebook.

“This Shin Bet investigation is the product of a lengthy intelligence operation to locate those suspected of being recruited by Hezbollah. It is another step in the counterterrorism efforts carried out in the past year against Quds Force and Hezbollah’s attempts to recruit Israeli Arabs,” a senior Shin Bet official said in a statement.