Arab Who Joined IS in Syria Appeals to PM: Save Me From Jail

YERUSHALAYIM -

An Israeli Arab who joined Islamic State in 2015 and is now imprisoned in Syria has appealed to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to help release him. The appeal came in a video broadcast in Arab media Wednesday night. Netanyahu’s office has not yet commented on the request.

The Arab, Siaf Sharif Daoud, was a resident of Kfar Bara, located near Kfar Sava. He joined Islamic State because “I had become more religious. I am an Israeli citizen and you are the Prime Minister of a democratic state,” Daoud says in the video, addressing Netanyahu. “All other countries have rescued their citizens from here, and your country is big and powerful. You do not discriminate between Jew, Arab, or Druze – and just as you bring home Israeli soldiers who are imprisoned, you should bring me home.”

Daoud also addresses his family in the video, saying that he was “sorry I caused you such trouble. I had no idea this would be so difficult. I made a big mistake.” To his mother, he said “I know you think about me every day, and I think about you. I promise that when I return I will not return to what I was. I am a good citizen and a serious person.”

Daoud also gave an interview to the Al Arabiya channel, saying that he joined Islamic State after leaving Israel on a trip to Turkey, entering Syria. He kept his Israeli citizenship a secret, because “if they knew I was Israeli, my journey would have ended. The reason he is in prison, he said, was because that fact did become known, and he is suspected of being a Mossad agent.

“This is after three years I fought side by side with them,” he said. “They wanted to use me, to spread propaganda against Israel in Hebrew. I refused because I didn’t want to harm the state where I come from and where my family lives. Israel is my home, I realized this when I saw Syria. In Syria there is a huge difference between Sunni Muslims and Alawite Muslims, but in Israel there is no real difference between Jews and Arabs.”