TEL AVIV – Two Israeli Jews have converted to Islam and joined the Islamic State in Syria, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency reported.
The man and woman were named as part of a list of 20 Israeli citizens, most of whom are Israeli Arabs and one of whom was recently killed, who have joined the terror group. The list came as a new law revoking citizenship from members of foreign terror organizations went into effect.
A third person on the list is an Israeli Arab who served in an IDF combat unit.
The two Jews, born in the Soviet Union, immigrated to Israel as children and later converted to Islam. As adults they journeyed to Syria to join IS.
The 28-year-old woman grew up in the southern coastal town of Ashdod while the other, identified only as Alex, is a 32-year-old man from Lod.
Alex’s sister told Channel 2 that her family was “in shock” over the news. She added that no one has any contact with her brother.
Earlier this year, an Israeli originally from Belarus was arrested for trying to join the Islamic State in Syria. The 39-year-old father of five had converted to Islam while serving in the army and later expressed open support for the jihadist group.
Israeli-Arab Anes Haj Yahia, 35, was arrested in February by the Shin Bet on suspicion of planning attacks for IS in Israel.
Although IS has largely failed to carry out attacks in the Jewish state, two deadly shootings in 2016 – in January in Tel Aviv and in the same city half a year later, killing seven altogether – are believed to have been inspired by the terror group.
According to the Shin Bet, some 60 Israelis have joined jihadist groups in Syria or Iraq. Several were reported to have been killed and fewer than 10 were thought to have come back to Israel, either on their own accord or as a result of deportation by Turkish border authorities.