Israel Struggles to Combat Homegrown ISIS Threat

(USA Today) Shira Rubin - A growing number of Muslims are signing up to fight for the Islamic State across Israel's northern border with Syria. The Israel Security Agency estimates that 50 Israeli Arabs have joined the civil war in Syria or are fighting in Iraq, and more may do so soon. The worry is that these fighters will return home to commit terrorist acts. "ISIS recruits from Israel were not regarded as a problem a year ago, but the security establishment sees them as a concerning trend," said Boaz Ganor, director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. "The phenomenon of Israeli Arabs joining ISIS is relevant to the homegrown terrorist phenomenon of Muslim communities in Western countries, bad seeds being radicalized and falling into the trap of ISIS incitement via the Internet, social networks, personal connections." While a majority of Israeli Arabs condemn the Islamic State, there is a surprisingly high level of sympathy for it, said Sammy Smooha, a Haifa University sociology professor who focuses on Israeli-Arab public opinion. His recent poll shows 17% of Israeli Arabs said that they do not see the group as an extremist organization, and that as Muslims they are not ashamed of it.

2016-01-15 00:00:00

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