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Two mossad spies jailed in new zealand { July 16 2004 }

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Two Mossad spies jailed in New Zealand
By Vernon Small and Michael Pelly
July 16, 2004

Australia is to step up its investigation of a suspected Israeli spy ring following the imprisonment of two Mossad agents in New Zealand yesterday for passport fraud.

One of the jailed spies, Eli Cara, 50, spent a significant amount of time in Australia and a house he used in Turramurra was raided shortly before his arrest in Auckland in March. Australian authorities had been told two other men had slipped the net in New Zealand, but the house was deserted.

"It was quite clear that people had left in a fair hurry," a spokesman for the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, said last night. He said investigations into suspected Mossad spies on Australian soil were continuing.

New Zealand's Prime Minister, Helen Clark, said she would reduce contact with Israel and slated it for its refusal to apologise or explain the actions of the two jailed men.

Cara and Uriel Kelman, 31, will be deported to Israel after serving their six-month sentence for attempting to obtain a passport in the name of an Auckland cerebral palsy sufferer. They have also been ordered to pay $50,000 each to a cerebral palsy charity.

New Zealand police are still looking for the man who the spies named as the ringleader of their scam, Zev William Barkan. It is not clear if he was one of the men Australian police were looking for in the raid on the house in Turramurra.

Justice Judith Potter said it could be assumed a false passport would be used for criminal activity, perhaps "very serious".

The court heard that both Cara and Kelman had done compulsory service with the Israeli armed forces, were university educated and active in synagogues and communities.

Cara's lawyer, Stuart Grieve, said his client had moved to Australia four years ago after retiring from a career with the air force.

He said Cara had a travel business connected to an Israel-based agency promoting eco-tourism in Australia and New Zealand. However, a search of company and title records revealed he had no listed business interests in Sydney.

He had travelled to New Zealand 24 times in recent years for business and family holidays. The court heard that Kelman, who studied mathematics and physics, was a tireless voluntary worker who brought joy to the disabled.

Mr Grieve said the men and their families would be at risk for the rest of their lives from terrorists targeting anyone connected with Mossad.

Miss Clark said the

actions of the two men had seriously strained relations with Israel.

She said New Zealand would suspend high-level visits from and to Israel. Any request for a visit by the Israeli President, Moshe Katsav, in August, in association with a proposed visit to Australia, would be declined.

The case is the first known example of foreign agents appearing in a New Zealand court since the 1985 arrest of the Rainbow Warrior bombers.

With The Dominion Post

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