The prospect of young Muslims travelling to Iraq and Syria to fight with jihadist groups such as ISIS, before returning home to their countries of citizenship is something that is of mounting concern to many Western governments.
Writing in Brisbane’s Courier Mail, Paul Syvret argues, however, that “Islam does not have a monopoly on hard-line malcontents and all religions and societies tend to breed their own brands of extremist ratbaggery.” On this he may have a point. But lumping Australian Jews serving in the IDF with Al-Qaeda acolytes is utterly misguided:
Or what, for that matter, of the young Jewish Australians who “make Aliyah” with a return to Israel and service in that (foreign) country’s military – an armed force well schooled in bloody regional and religious conflict?
To press home the point, the article includes two news video reports on current IDF operations to bring home three kidnapped Israeli teens despite bearing no relevance whatsoever to the subject matter at hand. An accompanying photo also includes the following caption:
Jewish Australians who serve in Israel’s military, and who may take on duties such as patrolling West Bank streets, like the soldiers above, are spared the criticism levelled against Muslim zealots.
Speaking to HonestReporting, Australian immigrant to Israel and former IDF officer Benji Rutland expressed his disgust:
The comparison between service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and ISIS is based on exactly the sort of bigotry that the author claims to abhor. While one can take issue with Israeli government policy (as many very vocally do) – as in any democracy, the army fulfills that policy while adhering to international norms. On the other hand ISIS is a cruel, bloody organization looking to enforce its extremist religious and ethnic views on all who come under its control.
Service in the IDF is mandatory for all Israeli citizens who also understand the need for Israel to defend themselves. One only need ask how many ex-IDF soldiers have returned to the West and engaged in terror attacks? None. We only need to look at the deadly attack on a synagogue in Belgium a few months ago to see what ex-ISIS personnel are looking to achieve.
You can send your considered comments to the Courier Mail through its Letters to the Editor page.
Image: CC BY-SA HonestReporting, freestock.ca