The Muslim movement in Israel has direct ties with Hamas and probably indirect ties with the Muslim brotherhood. This can be seen from the stances that were recently adopted by some imams concerning what happened to the government of Morsi in Egypt and regarding the treatment of the Muslim brotherhood. Furthermore, in their Friday sermons they are constantly underlining how perfect the Muslim solution to all problems, social, economic and political, is. The content of their sermons is full of calls for patience because the victory of Islam will come, despite the Christians and the Jews – they say – now wanting to destroy Islam. These interventions are heard by many young people and university students – the party is active in universities in Israel – and help to spread suspicion and tension between Arab Christians and Muslims living in Israel who, on the contrary, could work together on the Palestinian issue which concerns them both.
The announcement of the self proclamation of the Islamic State and the return of the so-called Muslim Caliphate also had an influential relapse on some Muslims in Palestine and Israel. From centers in which the presence of the Muslim movement is a strong, some youngsters have left for Turkey and from there they have crossed into Syria and Iraq to reach the ranks of ISIS. Furthermore, the imams of the Muslim movement fill their speeches with hatred towards the West, with an emphasis on all that it would do against Islam and Muslims. Obviously they do not openly declare themselves as supporters of ISIS and its practices, but they are always sure that Westerners, also often called ‘the new crusaders’, want to destroy Islam, and that the principle of this is the war against ISIS and other fundamentalist groups.
Certainly, in a non-Muslim country like Israel you cannot call for an armed jihad. But whenever issues concerning the mosque of al-Aqsa in Jerusalem arise, one can openly hear the call against Israelis and even against the silence of the Muslim umma and its rulers. Furthermore, recently phrases like the following have been heard ‘Jerusalem will not only be the capital of Palestine, but the capital of the Muslim caliphate rashîdi that is coming’. All Arab political parties in Israel have reacted strongly to these appeals: for them it is now clear that the Muslim movement wants to turn the Palestinian issue into a problem of a religious nature that excludes all non-Muslims. Others have understood this phrase as an invitation for ISIS to enter Israel. What’s more, it should be observed that if some do not condemn ISIS and share its views about the islamisation of the world and the return of the Muslim caliphate, there are others in Israel, and more specifically in Nazareth, who have dared to display the flag of ISIS in a very significant place: the square from which you climb to the Latin church of the Annunciation. Although they have tried to get rid of the flag and other symbols that refer to ISIS, nowadays, in many Muslim or mixed religion villages and towns, there are those who openly declare their support for ISIS, especially young people. On the one hand, this brings a feeling of insecurity for Christians and on the other, problems on a political level and of coexistence. These are problems that many people are trying to overcome so they can return to an atmosphere of peace and cooperation.
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