A member of the Neturei Karta group was charged in a Yerushalayim court on Thursday with trying to spy for Iran.
The man, who is in his forties according to a police spokesman, is an Israeli citizen and belongs to the Neturei Karta, a small fringe group that is shunned by the broad spectrum of the Jewish community and has repeatedly been condemned for its contacts with Iran.
The man traveled to Berlin in 2011 and offered to collect information on Israel for Iranian Embassy officials, Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency said in a statement.
Upon his return home, the man, whose name was not given, kept in touch with Iranian “elements” over the internet and public telephones near his Yerushalayim home, the statement said.
He was arrested last month and had been held under a court-approved gag order. A court spokeswoman said he was charged at a district court for making contact with a foreign agent and intention to commit treason.
“During his interrogation, the detainee said he was acting out of hatred for the state of Israel and in order to get money,” the Shin Bet statement alleged. No further details were given.
In a conversation with Hamodia, a prominent Satmar chassid who lives in Brooklyn and is acquainted with some of the members of the Neturei Karta said he was disturbed, but not surprised.
“They are few in number, but they manage to make an enormous amount of trouble. Within our community, they are viewed as certified lunatics, but dangerous nonetheless,” he said.
He spoke on condition of anonymity. “The last thing I need is for these crazies to harass my family,” he explained.
“Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that the activities of the Neturei Karta is repugnant to all parts of chareidi Jewry. In fact, perhaps the few things we all agree on is that the members of these group have no place in civilized society,” he added.
(With reporting by Reuters)
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Remove Your Disguise
Once again the fringe group Neturei Karta has managed to cause an enormous chillul Hashem. In the past, members of this small radical group have attended Holocaust denial conferences in Teheran. This time, a man affiliated with this group was charged with trying to spy for Iran.
It would be pointless to appeal to the conscience of those who have repeatedly proven that they have no conscience. All it would take is a modicum of sanity for them to realize how dreadfully misguided their activities are. However, those who have the misfortune to have met these individuals attest that they have a clear disdain for logic and reason.
What is particularly tragic is that these men insist on dressing like and claiming to be religious Jews. Their policies and tactics have been roundly condemned by the leadership of chareidi Jewry for decades, and they have long set themselves apart from the Torah world. Since they have repeatedly expressed disdain for daas Torah, and are responsible to no one but themselves, it is impossible for chareidi Jewry to stop them from repeatedly being mechalel Sheim Shamayim.
In reality they are a fifth column, a most destructive, foreign element that fraudulently claims to be part of the chareidi world. At the very least, let them stop disguising themselves like chareidi Jews.