Two incidents of pro-Islamic State graffiti in northern Israeli Arab villages were discovered over the weekend, prompting police to open criminal investigations into the circumstances of both events.
In the northern Druze town of Daliyat al-Karmel, residents discovered four graffiti spray paintings of the word “Daesh” — an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State — near a soccer field on Saturday.
In a separate incident the same day, the words “Daesh is on the way” were found daubed in Arabic alongside an Israeli flag in the village of Bana’a, in the Galilee.
Rafik Halabi, head of the Daliyat al-Karmel council, urged police to act quickly to apprehend those responsible for the graffiti, saying that “even if children did this as a prank, we are taking this incident very seriously,” the Israeli news site NRG reported. “The Druze community condemns this Islamic terrorist organization,” he said.
Following the incident, Druze Knesset member Ayoub Kara (Likud) said that “any support for the Islamic State must be investigated by Israeli police and security forces to combat this phenomenon.” He added that the Islamic State was the biggest threat to the stability of the Middle East since World War II.
Although police are attempting to crack down on any show of support for the Islamic State, the group’s popularity appears to be on the rise within Israeli Arab communities, where the rebel group’s flag has been sighted in various places throughout Israel.
According to police and the Shin Bet internal security service, more than 30 Israeli Arabs have joined Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria.