Top Cop Danino: Throw the Book at ISIS Supporters

Israel will prosecute anyone who expresses public sympathy or admiration for ISIS, says Police Commander Yochanan Danino.

Yaakov Levi ,

Islamic State supporters in Mosul, Iraq
Islamic State supporters in Mosul, Iraq

Israel will prosecute any individual who expresses public sympathy or admiration for the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS), the Islamist group that has taken control of large parts of Iraq and Syria, said Israel Police Commander Yochanan Danino. Danino's comments come in the wake of a report in the daily Yisrael Hayom newspaper Friday that at least ten Israeli Arabs have joined the Islamist group, and are currently fighting in its ranks.

"It's true that ISIS has not physically arrived in the country yet, but the problem with this organization is not in its physical presence,” Danino said. “What worries us is its use of the Internet, in which young people are exposed to extreme spirit of the organization and are affected by it." 

A report on Channel Two Sunday night showed numerous Israeli Arabs who expressed support for the Islamic State, saying that it was a proper Islamic organization that accurately project the values of Islam. The report featured what Channel Two called “a well-know figure in the Israeli Arab community in the Galilee”, who said that the progress of the group was inevitable, and that true Muslims were looking forward to the expansion of the IS “caliphate” to Israel, which “belongs to the Islamic nation.”

Jews, he said, would be given the opportunity to adopt Islam, but he did not specify what the alternative would be. Under Islamic law, Jews who refuse to adopt Islam are given a choice between “dhimmi” status, essentially making them second-class citizens who are required to submit up to three quarters of their income in taxes to Muslim authorities, and are required to defer to Muslims in all things - or death.

Last month, Channel Ten reported that in recent months black IS flags have been commonly seen in Arab-Israeli towns in northern and coastal Israel, notably in the cities of Nazareth and Akko.The flags have been seen flying among both Muslim and Christian Arab citizens of Israel, an ironic move given that IS in Iraq has emptied cities of their Christian populations by issuing them an ultimatum either to convert to Islam, pay non-Muslim jhizya taxes - or die.

In response to the widespread photos of ISIS flags flying in Nazareth, Ali Salem, mayor of the city, claimed "there are no things like that in Nazareth, and whoever sends (photos) is a deceiver and liar."

Last week, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein issued an order saying that Israeli citizens who wave the flags or display other symbols associated with ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah, or other terror organizations, would be subject to arrest and prosecution. “When such flags and symbols are displayed police must judge if there is a possibility of public disorder or disturbance, or of danger to the public. If there is, police should take steps to remove the flags. In appropriate cases, charges may be made against perpetrators,” Weinstein wrote in a letter to Justice Ministry officials.

Speaking Monday, Danino said that the decision gave police the power to pursue a criminal investigation against any person suspected of identifying with the organization. “Over the last few days I have instructed police to act sternly against any display of support, in any way, with this murderous organization. That includes posting notices, waving flags and banners, posting messages on Facebook and other online service. ISIS is a terror organization, and its supporters will be treated harshly,” he added.