December 22, 2015

ISIS and Israel

ISIS and Israel
Alex Beigelman ‘ 18

            For nearly a century, Israel and its predecessor, the British Mandate of Palestine, have dealt with radical Islamic terrorism with its roots based in anti-Western and anti-semitic sentiment. Terror has been ingrained in Israeli society ever since its establishment. Over the years, Israel has adopted rapid response and anti-terror mechanisms in order to ensure its survival. This includes dozens of advanced systems developed in the past decade such as the Iron Dome, drones and other robots designed for counter-terrorism. In addition, Israeli politics and elections often revolve around the dichotomy of security and peace.
The rest of the world, however, had not experienced this constant fear of terror until recently. ISIS has brought the bloody hand of terrorism and radical Islam away from the Middle East on a far greater scale than ever before. Terror cells now exist anywhere and can strike at any time using local resources and militias. These cells do not need special training or outside resources; all they require is internet access and loyalty to a greater, fanatical cause. This has greatly shifted the political landscape, in which European nations are now forced to engage in the ongoing war against radicalism and terrorism. Furthermore, the perceived threat of ISIS in the United States is so large that it has become one of the largest political issues discussed by candidates for the upcoming election.
While ISIS has had a large influence on Israel in some ways, it has not caused as drastic of a change in life as it has to the rest of the world. Israel, which is already forced to fear terrorism around its borders is now being forced to cope with the fear of ISIS at its northern border. This is just increasing the fear and pushing opinions in support of greater security.
However, while Israel doesn’t really fear ISIS as much from a military perspective, Israel has been affected greatly, due to the massive war caused by ISIS. The fighting is within earshot of the Golan and the intensity of airstrikes and bombings occurring so close to the Israeli border are making some citizens increasingly nervous.
With Russian, Turkish and American planes flying overhead and blowing up various targets, it is likely shots will be fired at the Israeli border. Furthermore, the parties involved have very different agendas and overlapping allegiances, making it easy for an enemy of Israel to accidentally fire at the Israeli border.
Critics fear that the aggressors can disguise their aggression as targeting ISIS. Other pundits warn that eventually ISIS itself may try and infiltrate the Israeli border to launch terror. In addition, the displacement of millions of refugees poses both a human rights question and makes the Middle East even more unstable than it previously was.
In some ways, however, ISIS is just adding another threat to the list of threats and isn’t actually making much of an impact. Israel already confronts daily terror from terrorists who are closer to home. Many in Israel feel that extremist Palestinian nationalist groups that engage in terrorism are much more serious than ISIS. Many Israelis believe that, since Israel already has many effective protective measures to ensure security, ISIS isn’t making much of an impact on a security level. Those Israelis often note that, while there have been no ISIS attacks on Israel or its cities, ISIS has declared war on Hamas and Fatah as well, and actually has assassinated important members of both groups.
Israel has supported efforts to take down ISIS while trying to remain out of the spotlight as much as possible, showing the indecisive attitude of Israelis towards ISIS and the threat it poses. Israel has not attacked ISIS or declared war on them and has avoided aggressive confrontation with the militant Islamic group.
On a more passive level, Israel has worked with other allied countries in counter-terrorism efforts, border control and has, in light of attacks or potential attacks in France, Belgium, Mali, Kenya, Lebanon and America, been seen as models for dealing with radicalism and constant threat of attacks. Now, many governments have begun new partnerships with Israel to learn more about how to keep their respective populations safe with growing numbers of terrorists on the rise. For the meantime, however, Israel is trying to keeping its distance, ensuring greater stability and peace within its borders


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