A group of young Israeli Arabs returned home after attempting to join the Islamic State terror group in Syria. A change of heart or strategic terror ploy

Hamza Sammi Magamsa, a young Israeli Arab who left his home to fight with the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) Terror Group, recently returned home, Israel’s Channel 2 reports.

Magamsa, a resident of the Arab town of Yafia in northern Israel, disappeared about three weeks ago from his hotel in Turkey together with three other Israeli Arabs. It turns out that after one night at the hotel, and following a meeting with Muslim preachers, he and his friends left their passports and personal belongings behind and went to Syria to join the IS.

Magamsa went back to his hotel and was subsequently arrested by the Turkish police. He finally returned home to Israel this past Friday. Some of his colleagues have already returned, and the others are expected to come back in the near future.

Former Deputy Minister Ayoob Kara, chairman of the War on Religious Extremism in the World, explained that these youth were returning home thanks to his efforts to get them in contact with their families, who persuaded them to do so. “Since the four disappeared from Yafia we have gone through much to get them in touch with their families. It seems that the conversations with the families touched their hearts,” Kara said. He assumes that the four were disappointed or scared by what they saw, thus deciding to leave IS.

“We will do our best to stop as many as possible from collaborating with the terror group,” Kara vowed.

A Growing Threat on Israel

It is believed the at least 30 Israeli Arabs have joined the growing wave of youngsters from around the world who are joining IS.

Ahmed Shurabaji, 23, an Israeli Arab, was convicted by a Haifa court in September of joining IS. The court had stated that joining IS “consists of a criminal offense against state security and intrinsically poses a dire threat to Israel’s security.”

This threat on Israel’s security has set off alarms in Israel’s government; Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon signed a special directive in September outlawing IS in Israel.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni proposed a bill last week that would make joining IS a criminal act. The motion stipulated that any Israeli citizen who joins a militia in a foreign country is committing a crime.

Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel