An Israeli Arab shot and wounded a police officer in the Old City of Jerusalem on Thursday in what was just one in a string of terrorist incidents.
The assailant was later identified as a 40-something man from the northern port city of Haifa.
More interesting was that he had been born a Christian, but recently converted to Islam. Haifa has a large population, many of whom are Christians.
That this man almost immediately turned to terrorist violence against Israel shone a light on the fact that Muslim proselytization in the Jewish state can be and often is just as radical as in places like Gaza, Syria and Iraq.
The terrorist was quickly shot and killed by other police officers at Jerusalem’s Lions Gate. The Israeli victim was treated for light injuries.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan later stated that Israel “will not allow the despicable terrorists to erode security in Jerusalem and we will act in any way possible to thwart the plans by the terror groups to escalate tensions in the area.”
It is relatively uncommon for Israeli Arabs, both Christians and Muslims, to resort to terrorist violence against their Jewish countrymen, even when they openly identify with the Palestinian nationalist cause.
In fact, recent years have been seeing more and more local Arabs–again, both Muslims and Christians–volunteer to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. Unlike their Jewish countrymen, local Arabs are not required to do military service. But, with so much of the Arab Middle East being swallowed in an orgy of jihadist violence in recent years, a growing number of Arabs here have started to appreciate the security and stability that comes with living in Israel.
At the same time, there remain a number of radical Islamic preachers in Israel who are constantly trying to incite jihad against the Jewish state.