Minister calls to revoke citizenship of Arab Israelis who joined Islamic State

“It is just a question of time until these people, living among us, become a lethal weapon directed against us,” says Tourism Minister Uzi Landau.

October 14, 2014 19:27
2 minute read.
islamic state

A masked man speaking in what is believed to be a North American accent in a video that Islamic State fighters released in September 2014.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Tourism Minister Uzi Landau penned a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday calling to revoke citizenship for Israelis enlisting with Islamic State.

According to Landau, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police estimate that over 30 Israeli citizens have joined the ranks of the Sunni jihadist organization.

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“These are people who live in Israel as citizens, and as such they enjoy a long list of rights as well as access to large and sensitive information. It is just a question of time until these people, living among us, become a lethal weapon directed against us,” the Bayit Yehudi minister said.

“This is a phenomenon of the utmost severity, which could gain momentum and transform into a sword over our heads,” he continued. “It is our duty as a government, as a society and as a state to take action to eradicate this from our midst.”

Landau said he was also appealing to Netanyahu to prevent these people from reentering the country.

“Every Israeli citizen must know that the State of Israel will act relentlessly against the activity of the ISIS organization, and in doing so will act meticulously,” he said.

He wrote the letter just days after reports surfaced that three additional Arab Israelis, from Yafia village in the Galilee, had joined Islamic State in Syria.

Marwan Kilabi, the father of one of the three youths who had joined ISIS, told Channel 2 on Tuesday that his son, Muhammad, had contacted him on Monday and said he was “fine.”

“We still don’t know what happened. Maybe they brainwashed him. He is a student, a good boy,” Marwan Kilabi said, adding that he was “embarrassed” to say that he didn’t know why his son had decided to join the organization.

Kilabi, who serves as a police volunteer, stressed that his family was not radical or overly religious, and repeatedly emphasized that he viewed Israel as his home.

When asked what he thought of Landau’s letter to Netanyahu, he said simply that he hoped his son would return home safely.

The issue of citizens leaving home to join the terrorist organization in Syria or Iraq is a problem plaguing not only Israel.

Last month, Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander told the National Post that his ministry revoked the passports of several Canadians who had intended to travel to “the volatile region to enlist as foreign fighters.”

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