Yes, there is a Jewish equivalent of the Islamic State, the radical terrorist organization that prides itself on decapitating anyone who does not follow the Islamic religious commandments as it interprets them. It is a small group of Jewish rowdies who go around murdering Arabs and celebrating their own barbaric activities. They are on the margins of Israel’s Jewish community, but the effect of their nefarious actions is far from marginal. They constitute a mortal danger to the victims they target, and a danger to the State of Israel. Like ISIS, they believe they are following God’s commands, and disregard the law of the land and the moral standards of the society in which they live.
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They reject the State of Israel and its laws, but then demand the protection that Israeli law provides for its citizens when they are apprehended and interrogated. They spit in our face, yet insist that the state stands by the rights guaranteed to all citizens – even suspected criminals.
Are they a “ticking bomb” that justifies “intense” interrogation methods by the Shin Bet security service? They are “ticking bombs,” undoubtedly. The continuation of their criminal activities will lead to the death of innocents and damage to the State of Israel, and could very well set off a cycle of violence between Jews and Arabs that will be difficult to stop. Everyone in Israel, Jews and Arabs alike, anticipates that those guilty of the murder of the Dawabsheh family in the West Bank village of Duma will be apprehended, judged and punished, and that their supporters will be tried for incitement to murder. And that the “price-tag” phenomenon of anti-Arab hate crimes will vanish from our land.
We rack our brains and ask ourselves, How did this criminal hooliganism develop in our midst? It is too easy to blame the settlements in Judea and Samaria as the breeding ground for these crazies. The murderers of Mohammed Abu Khdeir were not settlers, and neither were the defacers of Christian holy sites in Israel. Religious fanaticism that provides justification for acts of violence is not limited to any given locality.
It is to our religious leaders in Judea and Samaria, as well as in the rest of Israel, that we must turn and demand that they take it upon themselves to rein in this aberration among religious youngsters. It is up to the security services to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to trial.
They are like the followers of the Islamic State with their belief that God has commanded them to kill. ISIS kills the “infidels,” and they kill Arabs. But they and the followers of ISIS are brothers under the skin.
It is going to take a significant international military effort to bring ISIS to heel. The world and the millions who are suffering from ISIS’ barbaric acts in Syria and Iraq are still waiting for this to come about. It will have to come sooner or later.
Fortunately, the acts of the Jewish religious fanatics who engage in the murder of innocents is of far smaller dimension and easier to control. Nonetheless, it will take the concerted efforts of the Israeli security services, judicial authorities and Jewish religious leadership to prevent it from spreading, and then eliminate it.
It is probably no accident that the timing of their criminal activities coincides with the wave of terror that has been passing over Israel these past few months. It may be that, in their twisted minds, they consider their acts to be a response to the knife-wielding Palestinian terrorists. But, of course, they are only making the task of those responsible for law and order that much more difficult. Like their ideological brothers-in-arms at ISIS, an end will have to be put to their activities. The sooner the better.