Ultra Orthodox Jew charged with Spying

Authorities in Israel have charged a male Ultra-Orthodox Jew with spying for the country of Iran.

Allegedly, the man travelled in 2011 to Berlin and offered to pick up information about Israel for officials at the Iranian embassy, said the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency in a prepared statement.

The man is a member of one of Israel’s fringe ultra Orthodox groups and on Thursday was in a Jerusalem courtroom being charged with spying for the country of Iran.

When the man, whose name authorities have not released, had returned home from Germany he stayed in touch with “elements” from Iran via the public telephone system in Israel and through the Internet, said a statement from the Shin Bet.

Last month authorities arrested the man and he was held under a gag order that was approved by the court. A spokesperson for the court said the man was charged in a district court for contacting a foreign agent with the intention of committing treason.

The man, who a spokesperson with the police said was in his forties, is a citizen of Israel and is a member of the radical faction Neturei Karta that believes the Jewish state should only be in existence following the arrival of the Messiah.

The group praises the Palestinian Hamas and Iran for denouncing Israel and rejects Zionism.

While being interrogated, the detainee told authorities he had acted out of his hatred for the Jewish state and to get money, said authorities from the Shin Bet.

Iran and Israel oppose one another in almost every major issue over the region. The controversial nuclear program of the Islamic Republic is one of the biggest issues between the two countries.

Leaders in Israel said that all their options remain on the table regarding a confrontation with Iran over the nuclear program. The West fears the program’s goal is to develop weapons, but Tehran insists the program is peaceful.

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