Tuesday, May 23rd | 27 Iyyar 5777

Close

Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

Subscribe
July 9, 2015 4:05 pm

IDF Soldier Says ISIS ‘Brainwashed’ Her Jewish Cousin Into Joining the Syrian Civil War

avatar by David Daoud

Email a copy of "IDF Soldier Says ISIS ‘Brainwashed’ Her Jewish Cousin Into Joining the Syrian Civil War" to a friend
"Leah", an officer in the IDF, and her cousin Rafael, who converted to Islam and traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS. PHOTO: BaMachane.

“Leah”, an officer in the IDF, holds a photo of her cousin Rafael, who converted to Islam and traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS. PHOTO: BaMachane.

An Operations Sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces who is slated to become an officer is also the cousin of an ISIS fighter who was killed last October, the IDF’s Bamahane magazine reported in this month’s edition.

Leah, a pseudonym, who is now in the advanced stages of the IDF officers’ course, immigrated to Israel from France. Last August, her parents informed her that her cousin, Rafael, had traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS, according to Israel’s NRG news, which also reported on the story.

Rafael’s journey from being born to a French Jewish family to becoming an ISIS fighter may have surprised his family, but his affinity for Islam began years ago. As a student, he was convinced to visit a mosque and to adopt Islamic religious practices.

Related coverage

May 23, 2017 12:14 pm
0

In Surprise, Israeli City of Netanya Set to Host 2018 World Lacrosse Championships

JNS.org - Miriam Feirberg-Ikar, mayor of the Israeli city of Netanya, and Israel Lacrosse Association (ILA) Chairman Scott Neiss announced...

At that point, members of his family began severing ties. After a year in Dubai and another month back in France, Rafael boarded a plane and departed to join the Syrian civil war.

“He didn’t see it as something evil. He wanted to live as they did in early Islam, without all of the material trappings of our lives,” said Leah, adding that ISIS, “showed him all the good sides, they showed him what was happening in Syria and that they were being killed and he was going to do humanitarian work.”

According to Leah, “they told him he would be participating in humanitarian missions.”

After a week in the war-torn country, Rafael resolved to stay in Syria. In a phone call with his father, he said he was going to oversee IT operations in one of ISIS’s camps.

In their daily conversations, Rafael’s family would try to convince him to return to France from the Syrian battlefield. But their efforts were to no avail.

When his family confronted him about the beheadings and carnage carried out by ISIS, he would deny they ever happened.

Leah said that her father and all of her uncles were extremely worried, and her mother was depressed and cried regularly over Rafael.

“I have an uncle who was a very good friend of his and he sent him a long letter asking him how he could be so selfish to do such a thing to his parents and his family,” said Leah, but Rafael did not respond.

During her IDF service in one of the districts in the West Bank, Leah heard of the arrest of three ISIS operatives in the Hebron area and, she said, she prayed that her cousin would return to France.

“He was like an older brother to me. We had a lot of kid fights. We would play together, tease one another,” said Leah. She added that Rafael was, “always cool, and played the guitar. I really admired him.”

However, said Leah, “from the moment he entered Syria, I didn’t want to talk to him. I was afraid that they would hurt him if they found out he spoke to me and I’m in the IDF.”

She claimed ISIS knew he was from a Jewish family. “From their perspective, his conversion to Islam and his recruitment was a huge victory,” since it meant, among other things, “less Jews in the world.”

In the interview, Leah expressed her continued disbelief over her cousin’s chosen path in life. “I understand he was looking for meaning, and not to be like everyone else in France and just think about himself, but how could he join a murderous organization like this?” said Leah.

“They brainwashed him. He was deeply convinced of his beliefs. Just as I am fighting here and believe with complete faith in the justice of our cause, it seems he also believed that, to my regret, he was fighting for the right side,” said Leah.

In October, Rafael was killed by Syrian government forces, and was buried in Syria. Members of ISIS relayed the news of his death to his family. Leah was in France at that time visiting her family.

“Dad got up to answer the phone, and immediately I knew something bad happened.” He told her Rafael was dead, but his body would not be brought to France.

“He was a nice kid, a really great guy. It was such a waste,” said Leah, adding that she was, “very angry at him. I was angry he didn’t speak to me. I could understand where he was coming from, because I’m also fighting for what I believe in, but I was very disappointed in what he did.”

 

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • Chikni kamar jews ki pe mera dil phisal gaya…….strongly ya jaadu tera dil pe chal gaya. Jews are timid and very scared natured people. However, their men and women are very attractive but brainwise they are dumb. Every follower believes that their religion is the best. Americans are not dumb, jews rule with all the money they have made in this land but are really “darrus”

  • Benyamin

    There’s a huge hole in this story. He was convinced to visit a mosque and to adopt Islamic religious practices? How? By whom? Was he that gullible as a college student?

    Then a close uncle uses emotional blackmail to try and lure him unsuccessfully back. The family is Suprised?

    ISIS has been successfully attracting the disenfranchised. Why did this young man feel this way to convert from Judaism and then move? A Jew converting to Islam is extremely rare.

    It’s a sad story. Unfortunately we can’t really learn from this unfortunate story.

  • anon

    Did Mossad pay him to join ISIS? Israel is supporting ISIS by teating their soldiers in it’s hospitals, giving them Toyota trucks with welding done on them to mount heavy machine guns, air support, intelligence etc. One Israeli General is rumoured to have been killed in Syria.

  • Wm. J. Levy

    Sad that Judaism doesn’t have the same attraction that Islam has and there is no reason for it.

    There is no greater religion than ours and yet we are lacking the Jewish Unity that most other religions have.

    Jews, other than Israel, won’t defend each other or fight for each other and protect each other.

    If we had that the Holocaust would never have been allowed to begin because 600,000 German Jews could have found 1% of them to kill the Nazis in the 1920’s instead of staying above the post war debacle.

    We have only weak Jewish leaders and effete Jewish organizations like the ADL.

    Jews are being attacked in NYC on E. 62nd St. in broad daylight by Arabs waving a Palestinian flag and throwing frozen water bottles at a young Jewish couple and nothing happens.

    Jews are seriously injured by blacks in Jewish neighborhoods and nothing happens.

    ‘Want to pick on someone weak or strong? What do you think?

    • SARA RIFKA

      IT HAS MORE ATTRACTIONS TO IT…..FOOLISH PERSON…..THERE IS NO RELIGION LIKE OURS…..WE ARE THE ONLY RELIGION THAT HAS VALUE…MEANS SOMETHING ……TODAY…..

      I HAVE NO INTEREST IN THE REST OF THE WORLD NOR IN YOUR LACK OF LUSTRE REMARKS……

      DO YOU KEEP SHABBOS,,,,,,LAWS AND MITZVAS…..IF YOU DO…NICE AND IF YOU DON’T……

      I WOULD BE SILENT THEN…..ALL YOU HAVE SAID AND STATED ARE NOTHING BUT LIES…..BUT THEN BEING AN AMERICAN
      IS NOT ONLY A TRAVESTY IT IS AS EVIL AS THEY COME….

      FREE POLLARD……I WONDER HOW YOU CARE ABOUT THIS ONE PERFECT MOVE…….JUST LIKE I THOUGHT……NO ONE CARES….

      SICK SICK AMERICANS….

    • snappir

      Levy, I don’t know how much truth you know about WWII.
      If not USA, WWII would never have happened.
      If not USA help to Germany immediately after WWI, to build up their economy, WWII would have never happened.
      Not only that, US continued to support germany all the years up to WWII and DURING WWII, secretly of course.
      USA like Germany, like Hitler…wanted Soviet Union to be erased from the face of the earth, together with millions of jews of course.
      Reminder for you, the witch hunt in US, especially in Hollywood, after anybody who was sympathetic to Soviet Union in 1920s..1930s..
      US knew absolutely everything about death camps in europe, but did nothing. WHY ?
      The same reason – they were hoping that germany will turn around and accomplish the mission.
      Turning away a few ships with jewish refugees from germany in 1938, from american shores, is another proof about their partnership with Hitler.
      Kodak in Portugal was manufacturing triggers and detonators for german army.
      IBM…Bush Family…Ford…Random House publishing house(aka Bertelsman)…and many more american corporations who were helping Hitler.
      America is not a friend, but an enemy of israel and jews.
      The real friend was and should be Russia, despite harsh past, in which jews had most major role. So, nobody should blame Russians or Stalin. It’s the jews who made 1917 revolution possible and consequences.
      The more Israel distances itself from US is better.
      BRICS – to join this anti-american economic alliance, which is getting stronger every year. To develop better and stronger relations with Russia, India, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Brasil.

  • Reform School

    Whatdo you call a Jew who converts to Islam to wage Jihad?

    SCHMUCK!

    • Grace

      Leah, it is true its painful for that loss of life of a relative you grew up together and whom you harbor childhood memories,but he got what he wanted, and he personally chose to go that way just as you rightfully say you are ready to die for what you know is right. i am a gentile, but i know, it is useless to fight Israel, for His God has not left him as the prophet Balaam prophesied.

  • dante

    if the family raised him in a good way, educated him religiously, morally, and offered their love to him, then, there was nothing that could have been done to save him.

    apart from anything else, he was, regrettably, too morally obtuse, too confused, to help.

  • Jeremy

    Could be he was more that convinced. Coersion comes to mind.

    Baruch Dayan HaEmes. May HaShem console this and
    all Jewish families having to deal with these
    situations.

Algemeiner.com