September 29, 2013 Sunday 25 Tishri 5774
Sheikh Raed Salah has gained stature and risen to prominence and popularity the likes of which should rightfully alarm us, considering his nonstop sedition.
Scant attention, if at all, was paid the reported recent fatal shooting of an Israeli Arab on Syria’s killing fields. The phenomenon of local Arabs volunteering to fight alongside the anti-Assad jihadist forces is small in terms of overall population proportions, but the fact that it at all exists and the context in which it is starting to sprout is nothing we can afford to scoff at.
From available data – and it is partial at best – Mouid Zaki Jumaa, 28, from the Arab village of Musherifa, near Umm el-Fahm, is the first Israeli casualty in the Syrian strife. News of his death in battle with a rival rebel group near the southern Syrian city of Jaramana came in the form of a photo of the body, which the family unequivocally identified.
The relatives say they thought he was off with two friends on a vacation in the Balkans. Evidently the trio made their way to Lebanon and thence to Syria. At least a dozen more Israeli Arabs are suspected of having similarly infiltrated Syria but the numbers are likely higher.
Jumaa and the other Israelis are assumed to have joined the ranks of Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaida-linked combat group.
Al-Qaida’s assorted affiliates are not only battling the forces of Bashar Assad. Israeli intelligence analyses suggest that al-Qaida is vying for control with other insurgents.
Since Assad’s opposition is largely fragmented, al-Qaida steadily extends its sway over sizable stretches of Syria, having established a veritable state-within-a-state where strict Islamic laws are harshly enforced.
Visions of such theocracy fire the imaginations of young Muslims within Israel proper and entice some to head out and fight for the cause. Invariably they hail from the Islamic Movement’s northern branch led by Sheikh Raed Salah, Israel’s foremost convicted Hamas collaborator. His movement is based in Umm el-Fahm, where he once served as mayor.
In 2003, Salah was tried for raising millions for Hamas. That year he published the following poem in the Islamic Movement’s periodical: “You Jews are criminal bombers of mosques/ Slaughterers of pregnant women and babies/ Robbers and germs in all times/ The Creator sentenced you to be loser monkeys/ Victory belongs to Muslims, from the Nile to the Euphrates.”
In 2007, Salah orchestrated riots against archeological rescue digs and a new pedestrian bridge near the Temple Mount. He accused Jews of “eating bread dipped in children’s blood,” praised and eulogized terrorist murderers and threatened anyone who claims any Jewish connection to the Western Wall, “even to just one stone.”
Since then, Salah regularly holds “Save al-Aksa” rallies dedicated to the rabble-rousing calumny that Israel is out to demolish the Muslim compound atop the Temple Mount.
In 2010 he was one of the principal participants in the Mavi Marmara provocation.
It is in his mosques, inspired by his sermons, that volunteers organize to fight for Islamic domination in other lands. They call themselves the “Islamic Organization of the 1948 Lands” – their loaded euphemism for the State of Israel.
These volunteers are part of the spiraling radicalization of their entire communities, as evidenced among others by the Islamic garb worn by most women to avoid harassment and ostracism. Israel’s Arab sector is undergoing fundamental transformation of which too few of us are aware. Many Israelis do not want to know, especially if the fanatic fervor appears directed outwardly – toward Syria, for example.
But it is not only Syria that the zealots hanker to “liberate.”
Salah was largely responsible for sparking the Rosh Hashana disturbances in Jerusalem. He was briefly detained for his incitement to bar Jews from the Temple Mount on the grounds that they’re “preparing to raze the mosques and replace them with their temple.”
Israel’s judiciary has in recent years not dared punish Salah’s undisguised subversion and overt agitation to rebellion.
Hesitant officialdom prefers to tolerate Salah’s incendiary oratory and prodigious provocations, as if on the premise that if these were pooh-poohed, they would go away. Instead, Salah has gained stature and risen to prominence and popularity the likes of which should rightfully alarm us, considering his nonstop sedition.