An Israeli Arab from the town of Sakhnin in northern Israel was sentenced on Thursday to nearly six years in prison after he, his wife and their three children pledged allegiance to ISIS and moved to the so-called “Caliphate.”
This is the heaviest sentence yet imposed on an Israeli convicted of joining ISIS.
Wissam Zbedat was sentenced at the District Court of Haifa to a fine of 14,000 shekels. His wife, Sabreen, who is believe to have convinced her husband to join the jihadists, had already been sentenced to four years in prison.
In June 2015, the Zbedat family left Israel and made their way via Romania and Turkey back to neighboring Syria, where they promptly sought membership in ISIS.
Wissam spent the next several months training as a jihadist, and later participated in a number of ISIS battles, including in the Iraqi city of Mosul, where he was wounded in the leg.
As ISIS began to lose ground thanks to incessant bombing campaigns by an international coalition, the family returned to Turkey, where they were arrested and extradited to Israel.
“Yes, I was in Mosul and am a member of ISIS,” Zbedat admitted during the start of his trial last year.
Zbedat’s activities have raised concerns that others in more radical Muslim communities in northern Israel also harbor pro-ISIS sentiments and could provide the jihadist group with a foothold in the Jewish state.
PHOTO: Wissam Zbedat in the courtroom in Haifa (Flash90)