Members of an Israeli-Arab family from Sakhnin in the north of the country have been waiting in a Turkish border town to return to Israel after having left their homes to join the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria.
The family left for Romania in 2015 to attend the graduation ceremony of a relative who finished academic studies there. After reaching Romania, the parents decided they and their three children would go to Turkey instead of returning home, hoping to cross the border into Syria and to join the ranks of the radical Sunni group there.
According to Channel 10, the grandfather of the family left for Turkey and spent large sums of money in order to secure the transfer of the family from Syria back to Turkey.
Another report in the Hebrew-language website Ynet said four relatives went to Turkey to try and convince the family to return to Israel.
Following those efforts, the family arrived in a town in Turkey which has become the home of many refugees from the civil war in Syria.
According to an acquaintance of the family who spoke anonymously to Ynet, “the mother and daughters did not want to go to Syria but the husband insisted. At the moment it is not clear what needs to happen so they return to the country, but this is what’s most important now. I hope we’ll see them with their family soon.”
A Channel 10 report said the family was known by the residents of Sakhnin, a small town of less than 30,000 residents, but that the husband and wife had isolated themselves from the community over the years.
Sakhnin Mayor Mazen Ganaim distanced himself and the town from the family. “We were very surprised from the couple’s decision,” he said. “They are honorable people that lacked for nothing. The husband is working and has everything set, it’s a shame he made such decisions. We are against the joining by Arab citizens to organizations like Islamic State. Our religion is different from their heinous acts.”
The family, including three children, is expected to arrive in Israel in the coming days. The parents will face arrest upon arrival and the husband is expected to be indicted and tried.