Sheikh Raed Salah
Sheikh Raed SalahYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Raed Salah, the head of the Islamist movement in northern Israel, has arrived at an Israeli prison this morning to start his sentence after encouraging violent attacks and inciting racism in a 2007 sermon. 

Hundreds of Islamists convened in Um al Fahm this morning to show Sallah support. At ten o'clock, Sallah was in Be'er Sheva, about to enter prison. 

"I'm calm," he said. "If there comes a day when we can choose between jail and giving up on Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa [mosque], we welcome jail. We will sacrifice our lives for Al-Aqsa."

Sallah is to serve nine months.

This is not the first time Sallah serves a jail sentence. In 2010, Sallah served a 5 month jail sentence for spitting at an Israeli police officer.

Salah, a former mayor of Umm el-Fahm, was first arrested and jailed from 2003 until 2005 on charges of raising millions of dollars for Hamas. 

He was also aboard the Turkish flotilla ship carrying weapons and some of whose passengers attacked IDF soldiers.

Salah has called for the liquidation of the State of Israel, and played a leading role in the Israeli-Arab riots of October 2000 that included major highway-blockings and attempted murder of Jewish motorists.  "Very soon,” he said in a speech in 2006, “Jerusalem will be the capital of the new Muslim Caliphate, and the Caliph will dwell there."

Shortly afterwards, Salah told another crowd, “History has proven to us, for hundreds of years, that the occupier is destroyed and we remain on our land. And you, o Israeli occupier - disappear! And we will remain in our country, with Allah’s help.” 

He has also spread the anti-Semitic blood libels during a 2013 speech, and famously "reminisced" fondly over the drawing of swastikas as a child, in a 2009 interview with a London-based Arabic language TV station.