Israeli Arab Receives Permit to Return After Joining ISIS

January 8, 2015  

Israel’s Ministry of Interior gave approval Wednesday for the return of Nazareth resident Marwan Khaledi. 

Khaldi, who traveled to Syria to join the terrorist organization Islamic State, was awarded a temporary permit to return to Israel after six weeks of being refused entry. 

According to reports, Khaldi flew to Turkey in October to celebrate Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. He remained there for several days before his family lost contact with him. 

His family then attempted to gather as much information as they could. At first they thought he was being detained in Turkey for carrying counterfeit dollar bills, but to their surprise, they discovered he had crossed the border into Syria. 

Khaldi then made his way into Iraq, where he was apparently badly injured, and is currently hospitalized in Turkey with severe burns over his entire body. The family claims that from that first day, he had no participation in Islamic State fighting or affairs. 

Two weeks ago it was published that Interior Minister Gilad Erdan froze Khaldi’s Israeli passport.

Erdan further announced that he was considering revoking Khaldi’s citizenship entirely, but subsequently changed his mind – the day before the case would be turned over to the High Court of Justice, thanks to a lawsuit filed by Khaldi’s family. The decision was made in consultation with security officials. 

Khaldi was granted the border crossing document, but is likely to be taken in for questioning as well as a medical check when he lands in Israel. 

The Khaldi family also met Tuesday with former Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud), who heads an organization which combats religious extremism, asking for his help in dealing with their radicalized son. The family met again with him Wednesday and received the news of their son’ return. 

Kara said, after meeting the family, that “they are a very positive Bedouin family that has served the State of Israel since before its establishment. Children have served as soldiers, policemen and officers in the security forces, and now some are in control of a building project for the Ministry of Defense – their help [to the State] is natural.” 

“On the other hand we need to address the specific child that stumbled out of curiosity, but without harming the extended family.” 

Despite the temporary permit, the Interior Ministry is likely to continue to seek to revocation of Khaldi’s citizenship after he lands in Israel, as it is an overall policy move Erdan has been pushing for. 

Indeed, both the Ministry and security officials have made clear their understanding that this is a growing phenomena and that a precedent must be set. 

In October, sources revealed that no fewer than 30 Arab citizens of Israel have joined ISIS, and that there is a move in the Knesset to remove their citizenship.


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