Does ISIS See the Coronavirus as an Opportunity?

The Coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to a grinding halt. With nearly 1,000,000 cases to date, the global economy struggles to adjust to the rapid changes

Prof. Boaz Ganor Dean Emeritus, Lauder School of Government Founder and Executive Director, The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) Speaking at the ICT's 19th World Summit  (photo credit: GILAD KAVALERCHIK)
Prof. Boaz Ganor Dean Emeritus, Lauder School of Government Founder and Executive Director, The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) Speaking at the ICT's 19th World Summit
(photo credit: GILAD KAVALERCHIK)
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to a grinding halt. With nearly 1,000,000 cases to date, the global economy struggles to adjust to the rapid changes brought forth by the illness. However, there seems to be another variable unfolding with the circumstances, lurking in hysteria’s shadow
As though the epidemic’s severity challenges us with new complexities, ISIS has emerged to have claimed the outbreak to be divine intervention. In his article, Dr. Michael Barak, Senior Researcher at the International Institute of Counter Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, reports that ISIS openly considers the virus as an opportunity to strike blows against the Western world, as the international community is preoccupied with safety measures and containment of the mass-spread. “ISIS calls upon its supporters to show no mercy to the infidels, leverage their recent plights to make them carry a heavier burden as so to weaken them further” Dr. Barak writes.
The ICT cautions that ISIS views the Coronavirus as an invitation to engage in acts of inconceivable hostility towards those in disagreement with their philosophy, and to further experiment the possibilities of biological warfare. Although shocking, it fails to surprise.
A flagship organization within the IDC Herzliya, the ICT is reputedly esteemed for its role as an agent in the protection of global human security since its foundation in 1996. A leading academic institution driven by scholars and professionals with expertise in the branches of counter-terrorism, national security, threat vulnerability, risk assessment, intelligence analysis and defense policy, the ICT operates as a think tank and deep research facility fueled by its mission to promote international safety.
As mentioned by Gen. John Abizaid, Former Commander of the United States Army Central Command (CENTCOM), “[The] ICT provides one of the best academic settings in the world for the study of the dynamics of and defense against international terrorism. Staffed by a broad range of experts that combine both practical and academic expertise in combating terrorism, study at the institute provides unique and useful insight into one of the 21st century’s most difficult challenges.”
 ICT 9/11 Memorial Ceremony, Photo Credit: Kfir Bolotin ICT 9/11 Memorial Ceremony, Photo Credit: Kfir Bolotin
Leading a diversity of initiatives at the forefront of counter-terrorism, the ICT has additionally uncovered an alarming transferring of Bitcoin by what appears to be the terrorist organization Hamas, earlier this year. Drawn to light by a series of irregularities in the Bitcoin address’ scope of activity, the report mentions a funneling of funds into and within Gaza, through a website whose manager has an evident relationship with the terror organization, also whilst operating an account with a banned bank. In its attempt to identify the financial infrastructures and funding of terrorist organizations, the ICT has tremendously detected what can be an increasingly popular method of unlawful financial conduct. 
Collaborating with students in IDC Herzliya alongside providing internship programs, the ICT partners with those bright and passionate, driven to develop the next generation of leaders in the domain of global safety and security.
“Our mission at the ICT”, states ICT’s Founder & Executive Director, Prof. Boaz Ganor, “is to train the following generations of counter-terrorism experts and scholars, as well as to assist in developing a better understanding and international cooperation in the struggle against terrorism”. 
Providing access to tools, resources and mentorship to a younger generation striving to make an impact, the ICT is distinguished for its involvement across various prestigious annual events. The World Summit of Counter Terrorism, for instance, hosts over 1,500 participants across the span of four days, attending to listen to 150 speakers including the highest-caliber professionals in the industry from organizations including the UN, NATO, Facebook and the FBI.
The ICT is best known for its close relationship with IDC Herzliya’s graduate program, the MA Government. An organization of astounding achievements, the ICT is a highly desirable destination for MA Government students to develop their skill sets and network while gaining practical, professional experience.

Author:
Elishai Zeharya
Business Administration Undergraduate (3rd Year)
RRIS, IDC Herzliya