A 21-year-old Israeli Jew who is under his parents’ legal guardianship was stopped at the Turkish-Syrian border while attempting to join ISIS. The case is being treated as a humanitarian matter.

An Israeli Jew was apprehended in Turkey while attempting to join the Islamic State (ISIS). Israeli authorities became aware of the 21-year-old’s intentions after being alerted by his family. Some 40 Israeli Arabs have gone to Syria to join ISIS and other Syrian rebel groups, several of whom have already returned to Israel.

The young man flew from Israel to Crete and then to Izmir, Turkey. From there, he continued to Adana and then by vehicle to Iskenderun, near the Syrian border. During the trip, he was in contact with his family, who alerted the Israeli Foreign Ministry that they believed their son intended to join ISIS. The Foreign Ministry contacted Interpol, which worked with Turkish police to find him. His family brought him back to Israel on Sunday.

According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, he is under his parents’ legal guardianship, which raises the possibility that he is not mentally competent to care for himself. The ministry indicated that the case is being treated as a humanitarian matter rather than an issue of national security, and it is not releasing further information about the man for privacy reasons.

Although he is the first Jewish Israeli to attempt to join ISIS, he is not the first Israeli citizen to do so. At least 35 Israeli Arabs have left the country to join ISIS and other Syrian rebel groups. Last month, Galilee native Hamza Magamze received a three-year prison sentence for training with ISIS. It was the heaviest sentence given so far for such a crime. The Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) is encouraging tougher penalties for joining ISIS due to concerns that returning members are a danger to national security.

One other Jewish Israeli has fought in Syria, but against ISIS. Gill Rosenberg, a former IDF soldier, went to fight on behalf of the oppressed Kurds. She then left to fight in Iraq due to the anti-Israel attitudes she encountered in Syria before returning to Israel in July, where she was briefed by the Shin Bet. In August she went again to Iraq to assist in the rescue of Yazidi women and children from ISIS captivity.

By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel

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