'Fundamentalist' Jewish Terror a Growing Threat to Israel
TEL AVIV, Israel — Young, fearless, rebellious, idealistic and militant — these are some of the words security experts use to describe a growing terror threat facing Israel.
But they are not referring to Islamist extremism — they're talking about hard-line Jewish settlers called the Hilltop Youth. Some members of the settler splinter group are prepared to use violence to expand the country's official borders, establish a state modeled on the Jewish holy book and appoint a king.
"They are not willing to listen to anyone, including the most revered rabbis," according to professor Eitan Alimi of Hebrew University, who specializes in political protest and political violence. "They are fundamentalist in the sense that they try to go back to the pure and authentic way of living according to the Bible."
The phenomenon of Jewish extremism is not new — a Jewish hardliner assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin about 20 years ago. However, it regained international attention after an arson attack in July on a Palestinian family's home in Duma in the Israel-occupied West Bank. Eighteen-month-old Ali Dawabsheh died that night and the toddler's parents succumbed to wounds within weeks and left behind a 4-year-old.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately condemned the attack and described it as