Israel reduces charges against Arab-Israeli who fought with Syria rebels

Click photo to download. Caption: A Free Syrian Army soldier with AK47. An Israeli-Arab was accused of training with Syrian rebels. Credit: Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons. 

( The Israeli government on Monday sentenced an Arab-Israeli man who joined Syrian rebels fighting against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to 30 months in prison. Israeli authorities accused Hikmat Massarwa of receiving small-arms training from radical Islamists in Syria, where he was also asked to carry out a suicide attack against Israel.

Although Massarwa reportedly declined to engage in the attack against Israel, he did admit Monday that he had unlawfully traveled to Syria, a hostile state, and that his actions there "had potential to threaten the security of the state of Israel.” In return, Israel dropped the count of illicit military training against him.

Had the original charge not been dropped, Massarwa could have faced up to 15 years in an Israeli prison if convicted. "The prosecution were definitely looking for a deterrent effect here, and they got it, even though they scaled down the penalty," Massarwa's lawyer, Helal Jaber, told Reuters.

Posted on July 8, 2013 .