Experts Say Islamic State is No Threat to Israel – For Now
A number of Israeli analysts are claiming that the self-declared Islamic State (IS) does not directly threaten the Jewish State – at least, not yet – Israel’s Walla News reported Sunday.
This, despite apprehension in neighboring states and the West over the the metastasizing growth of the group, leaving a bloody trail of murder, ruin and plunder, beheadings of children, mass shootings, mass live burials of opponents, and the starving out of Yazidis in northern Iraq.
IS has taken over roughly a third of Syria and a third of Iraq, and a map of plans for the next five years’ conquests in the region shows a swath a black from all of north Africa to southern Asia – including, of course, present-day Israel.
The fiercely Islamic entity, which has an estimated 15 thousand fighters, however, also has many enemies, not the least of which include the Lebanon-based Shiite Hezbollah, whose own leader, Hassan Nasrallah over the weekend, called “to stop the monster.”
Yoram Schweitzer of the National Institute for Security Studies said that “IS conquests are only succeeding against crumbling states with ineffective armies – like in Iraq and Syria. IS hasn’t gone up against a real army yet, thus its recent achievements.”
While he said that “IS has no proper infrastructure, not in Judea and Samaria, and not within Israel,” he allowed that “the organization might have some cells that may try to act under the Islamic State’s banner.”
Dr. Jonathan Fine at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center echoed Schweitzer’s comments, adding that, “they wouldn’t have an easy time of it if they had to go up against the Israeli or Jordanian armies” – and that such a move is not currently seen to be on the table.
However, Prof. Ofra Bengio of the Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University estimates that the Islamic State’s next targets are Jordan and Lebanon, and that, if they continue to accumulate victories, their motivation and passion might influence Islamist groups within Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.