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June 5, 2015 12:31 pm

The Islamic State May Soon Be a Direct Threat to Israel

avatar by Alex Margolin

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ISIS, rebel fighters in Syria. Photo: Screenshot

ISIS fighters pose after seizing a border crossing. Photo: Screenshot.

In only four months, the Islamic State (IS) has captured territory larger than the country of Britain, a march unprecedented in modern history, according to journalist and documentary filmmaker Itai Anghel.

And IS fighters are closer to Israel than people think, he said. “I’m talking about the Peninsula of Sinai,” he said. “A large percentage of the Sinai calls itself IS. From the mainland of Egypt, they are afraid to go in.”

Anghel addressed the HonestReporting Mission on Tuesday to discuss how IS formed, and how it operates. He learned the lessons firsthand reporting across Iraq and Syria, where he interviewed captured IS fighters as well as Kurdish soldiers – the only group that’s turned back the IS advance to date.

During one of his forays into Syria last year, news broke that a colleague of his, James Foley, had been captured and beheaded by IS. At the time, Anghel was only a mile away. He later interviewed a captured IS fighter who said he intentionally used dull knives for the beheadings he carried out to increase the pain. Anghel said he was forced to pause in the interview for a few minutes as he thought about the tragedy of his friend Foley.

Anghel said IS has every intention of pushing well beyond Syria and into Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel – also known as The Levant – with the goal of establishing a Caliphate in the entire region. The red line for Israel, he said, is the fall of Jordan to IS. “Once Jordan becomes IS, it becomes Israel’s problem,” he said.

According to Anghel, the rise of IS can be traced to the American invasion of Iraq, and the American failure to establish a functional army to replace U.S. soldiers. He noted that the members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist forces were excluded from the new post-Saddam army, and their anger, along with rivalries between the remaining Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish forces has contributed to the Iraqi Army’s failure.

He showed a picture of IS forces executing a large number of Arabs in civilian clothes. He said the executed people were members of the Iraqi army who hoped to escape by shedding their uniforms and blending in among the locals.

“When they encountered IS, they ran away. They say, why should I as a Sunni fight when everyone is running away,” he said. “And the tragedy is, not only are they running away, but they are leaving behind all the sophisticated heavy weaponry the United States gave them in order to be the strongest in the region. All these weapons are falling into the hands of IS. And IS is very rich because its conquest campaign happened to take place, deliberately, in the region where you have the most oil in Iraq.”

Meanwhile, the Middle East is in an irreversible state of change. “Iraq doesn’t exist anymore, Syria doesn’t exist anymore. No one will be able to control those territories completely, even if (Syrian President Bashar) Assad manages to hold on,” he said.

Itai Anghel was one of the featured speakers for the HonestReporting Mission to Israel taking place from June 2 to June 8. Other speakers including Col. (Res) Miri Eisin speaking about the challenges facing Israel, Jerusalem Post reporter Lahav Harkov speaking about the new Knesset, and Neil Lazarus, who is an expert in advocacy training. In addition, the group will examine the issue of the Bedouin in the Negev and tour the Gush Etzion bloc.

Anghel’s talk took place at the studios of i24 News in Tel Aviv. The group received a tour of the state-of-the-art premises of the TV channel, which is working to change the perception of Israel in the world, with broadcasts in English, French, and Arabic.

This article was originally published by HonestReporting.

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  • Seven Reasons to Support Israel by Joyce Kaufman

  • Avi

    Foolishness above. Jordan is stable. King Hussein recently added Israel in Jordanian textbooks. They are bombing ISIS. Jordan’s stability is very important to Israel. Period. Ehud Yaari reported on Hebrew Channel 2 tonight: Assad’s army not only is limited now to defending Damascus but has lost control over much of the South. It is not ISIS but a collection of rebel groups. Likely his days are numbered. 160,000 left in his army and dwindling. Hard to say what means for Israel in long term. In short term, has weakened Hezbollah with 700 plus dead.

  • Elizabeth Crawford

    Amen, Rabbi. I am stunned when I hear the U.S. Govt say that heck, these people aren’t defending themselves so why should we — and Is is no threat to specifically us (!!!) and we ought to therefore turn a blind eye to biblical savagery and evil breaking into our sophisticated lives; thank you for giving Ms Gellar a chance to explain that she is not anti-Muslim — but anti-darkness and oppression, and against the capitulation of our collective hard-won Enlightenment. As ford Israel, so goes civilization — especially in this battle. Thank you.

  • You should know that the Sunni Palestinians in Jordan (80% of the population), and the Sunni Palestinians living in Israel (20% of the population), are waiting for the “militants ” of the Islamic State with flowers and candies and belief in a much larger Caliphate.

    If what they are hoping for happens, the NEXT step will be connection with the millions of Moslems now living in Europe.
    And what will happen then?
    Halleluiah! Halleluiah!

    Joseph Rosen
    Author of ‘Why a Jew?”

  • brenrod

    no reason to draw a red line at Jordan. the paradigm of “stability” which led to protecting Jordan is dead. the chaos in the lands of the enemy has weakened Israels enemies.
    Let Jordan Hasheimite stooges fall and go in afterwards to clean it up and set up a gov which invites the west bank pals to immigrate to Jordan. There is no interest for Israel in maintaining the imported foreign stooge monarchy that euns a JEW FREE country where Jews can neither be citizens nor own land. the fall of the hashemites is a good thing.

  • .


    Can any one imagine the chaos if a Muslim woman was targeted for death by a Jewish activist. There would be demonstrations in the streets and the media would be condemning the Jewish activist. I would suggest the Jewish establishment would join in. Pam Geller is a controversial figure. I invited her to my synagogue to speak which she did. I received a death threat and damage was done to my home. I do not agree with everything she says but to have some one consider murdering her is outlandish. Am I the only Rabbi to speak out. Where are the Jewish organizations some of which are condemning her. This is truly a disgrace and shows the cowardice of many who should be speaking out. Rabbi DR. BERNHARD Rosenberg

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