Islamic State (ISIS) has begun targeting Israel in its videos, including one recent film with a terrorist addressing Israelis in Hebrew.
To gain perspective on the situation, Arutz Sheva spoke to Dr. Ephraim Herrera, author of the book Jihad: Fundamentals and Fundamentalism.
“The Islamic State does mean what it says,” Herrera began. “For the Islamic orthodoxy, the Jews are the first enemy of Islam.”
Herrera explained that this hatred stems from the Jews being the first to oppose the prophecy of Mohammed when Islam first debuted in the seventh century.
More than that, however, Islam – like Christianity – blames Jews for the death of their greatest prophet and founder. The fact makes Jews a universal target, bereft of partisan politics that other terror groups use to justify murder, i.e. the “Occupation.”
“According to Islamic tradition, the Jews have killed Mohammed – they poisoned him,” he said. “You have to pay attention to the fact that in these clips of Islamic State, calling to kill all the Jews, they do not speak about the territories, or about the economic or social problems facing the Palestinians. The basic problem is an ontological one.”
The specific language ISIS uses – ‘a war of stones and trees’ – is based on classical Islamic texts as well, he noted, stating that the End of Days will see the land itself tell Muslims to come and kill Jews.
Beating ISIS, beating tradition
ISIS’s entire foundation of existence is, too, based on classical Islam, he said.
“First, the aim is not only on Israel: it’s on the world,” he stated. “Their goal is to conquer the world, because this is the goal of the traditional Islam: to have all the world under the rule of Islam.”
To combat this, Dr. Herrera urged the West not only to fight by air, but to send in ground forces. He cited recent victories in Syria, including at Homs, which have succeeded despite myriad air bombardments.
“The West has to be aware of a problem which could become tremendous very fast,” he said. He drew on the history of Islam’s development, noting that a small band of Mohammed’s followers established an empire rivaling the Roman Empire within 100 years.
Not a problem of race, but of religion
Dr. Herrera also shot down the Israeli misconception that the problem of terror in Israel is an Arab problem; rather, he said, it’s a Muslim problem.
The recent terror wave is based on ISIS-related ideals, he noted, including working with lone wolves, who cannot easily be identified.
“Even if the damage [a terrorist] causes is less tremendous than a bomb or something like that, it had benefits for them,” he emphasized. “The population is afraid of this terror, children are warned not to go outside, the economy is weakened, and then they hope, as a second stage, people leave.”
And while the current wave of Palestinian Arab incitement claims over and over again that Jewish presence on the Temple Mount has “caused” the terror, “in Islam, Jerusalem is not important.”