An Israeli man who boasted that he helped the Palestinian Authority catch and kill Arabs who sell land to Jews has been taken into custody by Israeli police “on suspicion of contacting an enemy agent and conspiracy to commit a crime,” The Times of Israel reported Tuesday.
The Israeli investigative show Uvda broadcast a secret recording last week in which Ezra Nawi, a Jewish member of the far-left NGO Ta’ayush, is heard saying that he gave the pictures and phone numbers of four Palestinian land sellers who thought he was interested in buying real estate to one of the PA’s security services. “The Palestinian Authority catches them and kills them,” Nawi explained. “But before it kills them, they get beat up a lot.”
Though Nawi’s name is known, it was placed under a gag order in Israel due to the legal proceedings.
Nawi was arrested on Monday at Ben Gurion Airport as he attempted to leave the country. Nawi denied that he was trying to flee, saying that he was simply seeking to avoid the negative publicity surrounding his televised claim.
The criminal proceedings against Nawi, who was reportedly assisted in his efforts to catch Palestinian land dealers by a member of the watchdog group B’Tselem, come during a time of increased debate about the status of political NGOs in Israel. Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has recently introduced a bill which, like the American Foreign Agents Registration Act, would require greater transparency from NGOs that receive more than half of their funding from foreign governments. The bill is currently being debated in the Knesset.
[Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90 ]