TEL AVIV – Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on Sunday took steps to revoke the citizenship of two Arab residents of Jerusalem due to their involvement with the Islamic State terror group.
Deri requested that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit strip the citizenship of Luqman Atun, 24, who flew to Turkey in October 2014 with the intention of joining the Islamic State in Syria. According to the Times of Israel, Atun did not have enough money for the trip to the Syrian border.
The interior minister also requested that the permanent residency status of east Jerusalemite Khalil Adel Khalil, 26, be revoked, the report said. Khalil was convicted in December 2015 of attempts to join IS.
This is the furthest that the interior ministry has gone in revoking citizenship of Israeli-Arab recruits to the Islamic State.
“There is no need to elaborate on the importance of Israeli citizenship, which includes a duty between the citizen and his country and the state and its citizens,” Deri wrote in his request to the attorney general.
“Against the background of increasing global terrorism, we must fight with all our power the phenomenon of those who choose to join terrorist organizations. The revocation of the citizenship of those in question has a real message of deterrence to anyone who is considering joining a terrorist organization.”
Seven residents of the northern Israeli-Arab town of Jaljulia were charged last November with planning to travel to Syria and join IS, prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call for their citizenship to be revoked.
“Whoever joins Islamic State will not be an Israeli citizen, and if he leaves the country’s borders he will not return,” Netanyahu said, and noted that the concept of revoking citizenship for those who join IS was becoming more accepted in the international community.
In January, 100–150 Israeli citizens were reported to have traveled overseas to fight alongside the Islamic State.