If anyone ever needed proof that ISIS and Israel are not enemies and actually have very common goals and interests, look no further than the words of Israel’s former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
“There was one case recently where Daesh [the Arabic acronym of ISIS] opened fire and apologized,” Ya’alon said at an event in the northern city of Afula.
According to the Times of Israel, this was an apparent reference to a clash that took place near the Syrian border last November. During the clash, Israeli Defense Forces exchanged fire with members of an ISIS affiliate.
As the Times notes, communication with ISIS is actually illegal under Israeli law because the Jewish state has classified the group as a terrorist organization. Unsurprisingly, the IDF declined to comment on Ya’alon’s claims.
Despite Israel’s vast capability when it comes to striking Syrian territory, its main focus has been on Hezbollah positions and those of the Syrian Arab Army. According to a recent report, the Syrian Arab Army was the most heavily engaged entity fighting ISIS in Syria in 2016. Striking the Syrian Arab Army only benefits ISIS, further complicating Israel’s role in the Syrian war.
According to an email released in WikiLeaks’ Hillary Clinton email archive, the real reason for Israel’s involvement in Syria has nothing to do with concerns about terrorism.
“The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad,” the email reads.
“Bringing down Assad would not only be a massive boon to Israel’s security, it would also ease Israel’s understandable fear of losing its nuclear monopoly,” the email adds [emphasis added].
This desire to confront Iran and retain Israel’s nuclear monopoly in the region has led them to work hand in hand with terror groups. In 2013, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren, told the Jerusalem Post:
“The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted [President] Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.”
According to the Post, Oren said this was the case even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.
Oren didn’t explicitly state ISIS, but thanks to Ya’alon, we now know this preference for bad guys who aren’t backed by Iran likely extends to ISIS, as well.