Israel is not short of enemies – Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, terrorist gangs in Sinai, assorted terrorist groups near the border on the Golan Heights since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, and farther afield the atomic ayatollahs in Iran. But far more dangerous, there is an enemy within – the northern branch of the Islamic Movement headed by Raed Salah from the Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm in Wadi Ara.
The northern branch of the Islamic Movement is for years actively engaged in subversive activity aimed at destroying the State of Israel and establishing in its place an Islamic State. This is their openly declared aim and, believe it or not, they are making progress toward achieving that aim. Progress, toward achieving what to many might seem an impossible mission, is being made by gradually mobilizing the Muslim population in Israel in an anti-Israeli crusade. By preaching to them that Israel is their enemy, inciting them to violence against Israel, and fighting tooth and nail against any move toward integration by Israel’s Arab citizens into Israeli society.
If you don’t believe it just take a look at the Bedouin population in the Negev. Over 30 years ago the Bedouin Negev did not identify with the Palestinian national movement, they were friendly to Israel, many of their young men volunteered for service in the IDF and, although Muslim, were not particularly observant and did not see themselves as part of an Islamic army waging war against Israel.
That was before the Islamic Movement began its activity among the Negev Bedouin. Since then they have been sending religious emissaries from the north to the Bedouin in the Negev, teachers from the north have infiltrated the Bedouin school system in the Negev, and the Islamic Movement has been regularly organizing demonstrations and riots in the Negev. They are busy spreading anti-Israel propaganda. Their message to the Bedouin Negev is that they are Palestinians, that Israel is their enemy, and that they are not allowed to enlist in the IDF, the army of their enemy. In recent years this effort is being spearheaded by the northern branch of the Islamic Movement.
Once a year the northern branch holds a mass anti-Israel propaganda festival in Umm al-Fahm, under the slogan “The Al Aqsa mosque is in danger.” There tens of thousands of Israeli Muslims are being incited to believe that Israel is planning the destruction of the Al Aqsa mosque, and are urged to be prepared to give their lives to prevent this “abomination.”
The pernicious nature of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement’s propaganda and its effect in inciting Israel’s Muslim citizens to violence was emphasized by the Or Commission which investigated the riots which took place in October 2000. It concluded that incitement by the northern branch of the Islamic Movement was partially responsible for the riots and the ensuing bloodshed. However, the Israeli authorities took no action at the time to ban the existence of this seditious movement, and it has continued and accelerated its ant-Israel activities in the following years.
The northern branch of the Islamic Movement makes no secret of its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and its association with Hamas in Gaza. They voice support for the terrorist activities of Hamas against Israel, and there are reasons to believe that close connections exist between the two organizations. Their leader, Raed Salah, was a prominent passenger on the Mavi Marmara, organized by a Turkish terrorist organization to bring support to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Is it reasonable and sensible to permit this organization to function so as to safeguard freedom of expression when their activities are obviously aimed at the destruction of the State of Israel? That position might be justified if it was concluded that the movement was impotent and in effect causing no damage to Israel and Israeli society. But this is obviously not the case. The northern branch of the Islamic Movement is far from impotent and its activities are dangerous and injurious to Israel.
To outlaw this movement might be difficult if it tried to hide its real purpose. But the northern branch of the Islamic Movement makes it crystal-clear to one and all exactly what is the aim of their activity.
There are examples in history of the unfortunate results when a democracy does not know how to protect itself against internal enemies. Israel must take a lesson from history. It is imperative that Israel outlaw the northern branch of the Islamic Movement.