Supreme Court rejects appeal of former MK Said Naffaa against conviction of visiting 'enemy state', meeting with foreign agent

Adalah: The Court's decision is dominated by political calculations more than by legal reasoning; ban on travel to Arab countries is discriminatory and repressive.

On 31 August 2015, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by Adalah on behalf of former Knesset Member Said Naffaa against the Nazareth District Court's decision in April 2014 to convict MK Naffaa of travelling to an "enemy state" (Syria), assisting in organizing a travel to an enemy state, and contact with a foreign agent. The District Court decided to sentence MK Naffaa to imprisonment for one year. The Supreme Court decided that MK Naffaa's sentence would begin on 6 October 2015. Adalah Attorneys Hassan Jabareen and Aram Mahameed, and private lawyer Salim Wakim, represented MK Naffaa before the Supreme Court.


In response to the ruling, Adalah stated: "The ruling is the most blatant example of the fact that politics supersedes the law and the rule of law. The court ignored the fact that the charges against Naffaa are in effect for activity within the context of an MK’s parliamentary immunity; an MK, according to law, is permitted to leave and enter the country freely. In addition, although the Court recognized the fact that there was no security element in the meeting between Naffaa and Talal Naji, and that their discussion revolved around an internal Palestinian dispute between Hamas and Fatah, it is upholding the conviction of MK Naffaa for contact with a foreign agent, while ignoring his immunity and legal precedents. Therefore, this is a political decision."


Adalah further stated: "The laws that prevent Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel from visiting Arab counties are discriminatory and repressive, as they prevent a national minority from having cultural, political and social connections with the people of their nation in the region. This ban contradicts the norms of international human rights law regarding the rights of minorities. This is a draconian and sweeping law, which is directed against the Arab minority based on its specific identity, and does not give any weight to its legitimate interests as part of the Arab nation.”


The case of MK Said Naffaa began in 2007 following his participation in a delegation of 200 Druze clerics and public figures that travelled to Syria to visit Druze holy sites and attend several political meetings. As a result, the state lodged the following criminal charges against MK Naffaa, accusing him of meeting with figures that belong to groups that Israel classified as "terrorists".


Case citation:  HCJ 6833/14, Said Naffaa v. State of Israel


Adalah's Appeal to the Supreme Court

Supreme Court's decision


Read more:


Jack Khoury, Supreme Court upholds former Israeli MK's conviction for visiting Syria, Haaretz, 31 August 2015


Adalah press release, Nazareth District Court rejects demand to cancel political criminal charges against MK Said Naffaa; Adalah to appeal to Supreme Court, 26 December 2012