(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Office)

Last month the ISA and the Israel Police arrested Nazmi Hasin and Abdul Aziz Salam Zidan, two Israeli Arabs, both dentists from the Nazareth-Galilee area, who studied dentistry in Romania during the 1990’s, and who were recruited into Hamas, underwent training abroad, met with Hamas members after returning to Israel and received instructions on missions for the organization. Nazmi Hasin, born in 1970, a resident of Nazareth, admitted to ISA investigators that during his studies in the 1990’s, he attended prayers and religious studies in a Romanian mosque, including inflammatory sermons by a sheikh affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Hasin joined the sheikh and another of the latter’s followers. In 1994, Hasin met the two in his Romanian apartment and was officially recruited into Hamas in order to assist the organization in perpetrating actions against the security of the State of Israel. He was also briefed prior to departing for security training in Turkey. In 1994, Hasin traveled by bus to Turkey but returned to Romania upon being informed that the training exercise had been cancelled; he was reimbursed for his travel expenses. Some time later, Hasin flew to Turkey where he attended security training, along with three other recruits, on (inter alia): Following someone, collecting information, encryption and covert behavior. The training was carried out in Istanbul over five days and was designed to enable Hamas to harm Israeli state security. The aforementioned sheikh and other follower told Hasin that he would later receive military training in Iran; this did not happen due to Hasin’s possession of an Israeli passport. Following the exercise, Hasin returned to Romania where he met again with the two. They asked him to help collect information on various sites in Israel, and recruit Israeli Arabs who could assist the organization. Before returning to Israel, Hasin was told that a handler would contact him on behalf of the organization. The handler contacted Hasin in 1995. Hasin admitted that in 1997, he met with the handler in his and Abdul Aziz Salam Zidan’s clinic in Kafr Manda and that the two discussed Hamas’s desire to avail itself of Hasin’s services. In 1999, Hasin met with the handler a second time in a Nazareth restaurant. Hasin was asked to assist in locating reliable Israeli Arabs who could aid Hamas. Hasin agreed, gave the handler the telephone number of Abdul Aziz Salam Zidan. Hasin also gave the handler – at the latter’s request – information on three other Israeli Arabs who studied with him in Romania. The following day, Hasin met with Zidan, born in 1969, a resident of Kafr Manda, and suggested that he assist in anti-Israel security actions on behalf of a secret Islamic organization. Zidan agreed. Hasin introduced the handler to Zidan, at their Kafr Manda clinic, and then drove the two towards Nazareth. Zidan admitted having contacts in Israel with the handler and said that he knew right away that the handler was working on behalf of Hamas. The handler asked Zidan to locate safe apartments in Kafr Manda. In July 1999, approximately three months after their meeting, Zidan acceded to the handler’s request and went to a meeting in Turkey, financed by the organization. He met with Hamas operatives for three days. Zidan was instructed to locate safe apartments, find additional Israeli Arab recruits, check on the ability to procure fertilizer and open email accounts for passing on messages. Zidan admitted to giving the handler the name of Khaled Kedakh, a resident of Kafr Manda, in order to assist Hamas activities. While in Turkey, Zidan also underwent security training in encryption and bomb-making. The handler gave Zidan $400 to finance his trip and $300 to deliver to a Hamas operative in Israel, which Zidan did. Zidan said he was in telephone contact with his handler from late 1999-early 2000. He also said that in 2002, he coordinated with the handler regarding the umra pilgrimage to Mecca. While in Saudi Arabia, Zidan met with the handler and was instructed to gather information on crowded sites in Tel Aviv, especially shopping malls and high-rise buildings. They agreed on an additional meeting abroad, which did not, however, take place. Zidan remained in telephone contact with the handler after returning from Saudi Arabia. Hasin was aware that Zidan was in contact with foreign agents and was aiding Hamas in its actions against Israeli state security and did nothing to prevent it. In 2003, Hasin gave Zidan with aforementioned sheikh’s phone number so that he might be in contact with him. The Haifa District of the State Prosecutor’s Office intends to indict Hasin and Zidan on a variety of severe security offenses including assisting the enemy in wartime and contact with foreign agents (multiple counts of both offenses), and to request that they be remanded in custody until the end of proceedings against them.