Daesh pledges genocide but is ‘no real threat’
A GLIDER pilot, spotted by an IDF observation post as he was crossing over the Israel-Syria border late on Saturday afternoon, sparked a state of emergency and an Israeli media blackout.
As helicopters, fighter jets and commando teams were scrambled to the Golan Heights, the main concern within Israel was that a recreational flyer had been swept by the wind into Syria and fallen into the hands of radical Islamist rebels.
After several tense hours, it transpired that the pilot was an Israeli-Arab resident who seems to have crossed the border intentionally to join a small rebel group affiliated with Daesh.
The flap up north coincided with the release online of the first Hebrew-language Daesh propaganda video. It was well-produced, as other such videos usually are, and its protagonist spoke in relatively fluent Hebrew.
It included the promise that the Islamic State would soon turn its sights on Israel and that “not a single Jew will remain in Jerusalem and Palestine”.
Since large Daesh forces are nowhere near Israel’s borders — the only significant one in southern Syria is around 80 miles from the Golan — it is almost certainly a publicity stunt aimed at capitalising on the recent wave of stabbing attacks in Israel. Daesh does not need to produce videos in Hebrew to gain Palestinian followers, however.
Last weekend’s glider pilot was just one of over 40 Israeli Arabs who have either travelled to Syria — via Turkey — or tried to organise local Daesh cells.
Most of those who have returned have been arrested. The majority are still believed to be active in Syria or Iraq, and at least two of them are thought to have been killed in fighting.
Daeshisalsoactivein Sinai, where the Ansar bait al-Makdas group, which consists of a few hundred Egyptian IslamistsandBedouins, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State’s caliph earlier this year and have since killed over 100 Egyptian security personnel.
The consensus within the Israeli security establishment is that beyond the recruitment of a few dozen impressionable youngsters, Daesh currently has little direct significance for Israel.
The main effect Daesh is having on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is in encouraging terror attacks online.
“They are not on our horizon and neither are we on theirs,” said one senior IDF officer this week. “They have enough trouble to contend with in Syria and Iraq.” Daesh video calling for the killing of Jews in Israel