Scant attention, if at all, was paid the reported recent fatal shooting of an
Israeli Arab on Syria’s killing fields. The phenomenon of local Arabs
volunteering to fight alongside the anti-Assad jihadist forces is small in terms
of overall population proportions, but the fact that it at all exists and the
context in which it is starting to sprout is nothing we can afford to scoff
From available data – and it is partial at best – Mouid Zaki Jumaa,
28, from the Arab village of Musherifa, near Umm el-Fahm, is the first Israeli
casualty in the Syrian strife. News of his death in battle with a rival rebel
group near the southern Syrian city of Jaramana came in the form of a photo of
the body, which the family unequivocally identified.
The relatives say
they thought he was off with two friends on a vacation in the Balkans. Evidently
the trio made their way to Lebanon and thence to Syria. At least a dozen more
Israeli Arabs are suspected of having similarly infiltrated Syria but the
numbers are likely higher.
Jumaa and the other Israelis are assumed to
have joined the ranks of Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaida-linked combat
Al-Qaida’s assorted affiliates are not only battling the forces of
Bashar Assad. Israeli intelligence analyses suggest that al-Qaida is vying for
control with other insurgents.
Since Assad’s opposition is largely
fragmented, al-Qaida steadily extends its sway over sizable stretches of Syria,
having established a veritable state-within-a-state where strict Islamic laws
are harshly enforced.
Visions of such theocracy fire the imaginations of
young Muslims within Israel proper and entice some to head out and fight for the
cause. Invariably they hail from the Islamic Movement’s northern branch led by
Sheikh Raed Salah, Israel’s foremost convicted Hamas collaborator. His movement
is based in Umm el-Fahm, where he once served as mayor.
In 2003, Salah
was tried for raising millions for Hamas. That year he published the following
poem in the Islamic Movement’s periodical: “You Jews are criminal bombers of
mosques/ Slaughterers of pregnant women and babies/ Robbers and germs in all
times/ The Creator sentenced you to be loser monkeys/ Victory belongs to
Muslims, from the Nile to the Euphrates.”
In 2007, Salah orchestrated
riots against archeological rescue digs and a new pedestrian bridge near the
Temple Mount. He accused Jews of “eating bread dipped in children’s blood,”
praised and eulogized terrorist murderers and threatened anyone who claims any
Jewish connection to the Western Wall, “even to just one stone.”
then, Salah regularly holds “Save al-Aksa” rallies dedicated to the
rabble-rousing calumny that Israel is out to demolish the Muslim compound atop
the Temple Mount.
In 2010 he was one of the principal participants in the
It is in his mosques, inspired by his sermons,
that volunteers organize to fight for Islamic domination in other lands. They
call themselves the “Islamic Organization of the 1948 Lands” – their loaded
euphemism for the State of Israel.
These volunteers are part of the
spiraling radicalization of their entire communities, as evidenced among others
by the Islamic garb worn by most women to avoid harassment and ostracism.
Israel’s Arab sector is undergoing fundamental transformation of which too few
of us are aware. Many Israelis do not want to know, especially if the fanatic
fervor appears directed outwardly – toward Syria, for example.
But it is
not only Syria that the zealots hanker to “liberate.”
Salah was largely
responsible for sparking the Rosh Hashana disturbances in Jerusalem. He was
briefly detained for his incitement to bar Jews from the Temple Mount on the
grounds that they’re “preparing to raze the mosques and replace them with their
Israel’s judiciary has in recent years not dared punish Salah’s
undisguised subversion and overt agitation to rebellion.
officialdom prefers to tolerate Salah’s incendiary oratory and prodigious
provocations, as if on the premise that if these were pooh-poohed, they would go
away. Instead, Salah has gained stature and risen to prominence and popularity
the likes of which should rightfully alarm us, considering his nonstop sedition.
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