Report: Former IDF Soldier ‘Defected’ to IS

A former IDF soldier is now serving with Islamic State, reported Walla News.

The Israeli Arab was a soldier in a Givati combat unit, and broke off contact with his family some five years ago.

The soldier was a resident of a village in northern Israel. According to sources in his community, he finished the army in January 2014 and left for Syria via Turkey, taking with him his IDF dogtags. While there have been numerous cases of Israeli Arabs absconding to Syria to fight with IS, this is the first time an IDF soldier was reported as having done so, officials said.

According to the ex-soldier’s mother, she has not been in touch with her son for some five years, and she does not know about his recent activities. Her son left home after a quarrel with his parents and has not returned, she said, with at least part of the quarrel surrounding his desire to serve in the army.

Another relative said that the ex-soldier had spent his days off from the army at the beach or at the homes of friends, since he refused to go home. At one point, the relative was able to bring him and his father together, with the latter eventually accepting his son’s decision to serve.

With that, the relative said, it is not clear why the ex-soldier defected to IS, as no one was aware of his having gone through a radicalization process.

Of great concern to the security establishment is the apparent attraction of IS to some Israeli Arabs, an issue that was highlighted last month when police and Shin Bet special security service officers arrested six residents of the Arab town of Jaljulye, located in central Israel, on charges that they had planned to go to Syria and from there join the ranks of IS.

The plot was revealed after Israeli officials arrested an Israeli Arab who was apparently also part of the gang, when he tried to fly a glider into Syria in October. The Arab launched his glider from a site in the Golan Heights used by sports enthusiasts for paragliding, and succeeded in crossing over into Syria.

Officials said that about 40 Israeli Arabs have gone to Syria via different methods in order to fight with IS. Most of them have been killed, based on information Israeli intelligence has come up with, the officials said. However, security officials believe that there are hundreds of potential IS candidates among Israeli Arabs.