“This is a serious and important message to all Jews, the first enemy of the Muslims,” a masked man warns in the group’s first Hebrew-language video. His face is covered with a mask as he brandishes a rifle over his green uniform. “To all the Jews who have conquered the land of the Muslims, the real war has not yet begun.”
A knife sticks out of a pocket in his vest, reminding viewers of Israel’s latest spate of stabbings. His accent, Israeli publications note, sounds more like that of an Israeli Arab than someone from the Palestinian territories.
This week, the so-called Islamic State widely known as ISIS released its first video in Hebrew, promising to tear down the Jewish state—as soon as the terrorist group plows through Jordan first.
The audience is clear: Jewish Israelis.
“We promise to you that there won’t be a single Jew left in Jerusalem and all over the country [Israel],” he continues. “Look what happened to you from a few stabbings and car ramming attacks from our brothers in Palestine—you have turned over your heads, and feared any driver that drives fast.”
The Hebrew clip comes on the heels of a flurry of recruitment aimed at Palestinians. A recent video urged them to “prepare yourselves spiritually and materially to strike terror and fear into the hearts of the Jews” while attacking the ideology of Hamas and Fatah.
That’s because despite ISIS’s efforts to co-opt recent unrest as evidence of support for the group, ISIS’s goal of an Islamic caliphate is a far cry from the nationalist rhetoric of Hamas and Fatah.
“Fatah has become an agent of the infidel Jews and Christians, while Hamas is doing the bidding of the Shi'ites [Iranians] and Alawites [the Syrian regime],” a video said.
The statements are, in a sense, a parallel to nationalist rhetoric spun in Israel itself: Black and white, us vs. them, all Muslims vs. all Jews. Last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called ISIS and Hamas “branches of the same poisonous tree.”
“When it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas,” he said. Days before the Arabic language video launched, he conflated Mahmoud Abbas’s rhetoric about the Al-Aqsa Mosque with ISIS’s much grander wishes for domination.
One side paints Palestinians as evil; one side claims that all Israelis are worse. ISIS, meanwhile, split the difference and executed an Israeli Arab accused of being a Mossad spy.
A map in the clip shows cartoon soldiers at Israel’s borders. They surround the country from two planted Black Standards—one in Syria, the other from its proclaimed “wilayet” on Sinai, both approaching the country’s armed borders.
Never mind the fact that intelligence officials estimate only a few dozen Israeli Arabs have joined ISIS, or the tentative calm that Friday brought.
ISIS will surely keep threatening to erase “the borders of Sykes-Picot” by importing foreign fighters to take on Israel. But before they can come “to wipe you out,” they’ll have to cross through Jordan, and defeat one of the best-trained armies in the world. Bi inthnillah.
—With additional reporting by Adam Hoffman