Bill to Criminalize Joining ISIS

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to propose bill to mark joining any 'non-national' military group abroad a crime, as ISIS hysteria continues.

Hezki Baruch and Tova Dvorin,

Islamic State terrorist (file)
Islamic State terrorist (file)

Legal action is escalating against Israeli Arabs who join Islamic State (ISIS), after some thirty Israeli citizens were revealed to have left their hometowns to join jihadists in Syria earlier this month. 

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (HaTnua) will set a bill making joining ISIS a criminal act in the Ministerial Committee of Legislation on Sunday, with the motion stipulating that any national or resident of Israel who joined an organized non-national militia in a foreign country is committing a crime.

The proposal, if passed, must then garner the authorization of Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu), as well as the approval of the Knesset Committee for Constitution, Law, and Justice. Ya'alon will then specify the organizations and countries or regions in which the law would apply. Violators could be sentenced to up to five years in Israeli prison. 

"Every country has the right to self-defense, and Israel is no exception," Livni stated Saturday night. "We cannot let terrorism in, and so we must subject Israeli citizens who join terror organizations due to extreme Islamist ideologies to the full prosecution under law."

"This legislation is an internal action, but it is important as a means of accompanying the external processes of creating a common mission with the West and the Arab states against fundamentalist Islam," she added. 

Livni's initiative is not the first in Israel against ISIS. 

Two weeks ago, Tourism Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beytenu) sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud) calling for Israel to revoke the citizenship of Israelis Arabs who join ISIS, following a precedent set by Britain in December. 

"These are people who live in Israel as citizens, and as such, they enjoy a long list of rights, as well as access to a large and sensitive information," Landau stated. "It is but a question of time before these people, who live among us, become a lethal weapon directed against us."

"This is a serious phenomenon, which could gain momentum and change into a sword over our heads," he urged. "It is our duty as a government, society and the state to take action to eradicate this from our midst."